Review clears Leslie quarry owner

Blasting at Lomond Quarry has been carried out within the planning consent, a report has found.
Blasting at Lomond Quarry has been carried out within the planning consent, a report has found.

Blasting activity at a controversial quarry in Leslie does not breach planning regulations, an independent review has found.

Stringent monitoring of operations at Lomond Quarry by Fife Council enforcement officers has found the owner, Skene Group, has been working within the permitted noise and vibration levels and within its planning consent.

Residents have deluged the Council with hundreds of complaints since blasting started in July 2011.

Since then, a residents’ action group was set up which forced former Council leader Alex Rowley into giving the go-ahead for an independent review to look into concerns from home owners, some of whom live as close as 50 metres from the quarry.

However, a report presented to councillors at this month’s area committee said the Skene Group was operating within its planning consent and recommended officers revert to normal monitoring.

The findings have been welcomed by Neil Skene, managing director of Skene Group, who added: “We work hard to ensure compliance with all regulations relating to our business. As a major employer in the local area, we also take our responsibility to the community seriously and have invested more than £1 million on environmentally-friendly machinery and infrastructure in the last year alone.”

Asked by councillors if, in light of the high level of public anguish and concern and number of complaints, such a planning consent for a similar activity would be given again, James Wright, enforcement officer, told councillors: “Yes, we would grant planning consent to such an an application if it came before us today.”

Councillor John Wincott claimed the blast monitoring had been flawed and successfully passed an amendment, by six votes to four, calling for monitoring to continue at three sites and for dust monitoring to also continue.

Cllr Wincott told the Gazette: “Officers want to stop the additional blast monitoring. However, this would leave in place only the monitoring done by the quarry which consistently, in nine out of 10 recent blasts, failed to record the highest blast impact experienced by the residents.

“It’s a pity the committee could not achieve a unanimous consensus on this and it had to go to a vote.”