So, what exactly can we do?

The entrance to Lomond Quarry, near Leslie.
The entrance to Lomond Quarry, near Leslie.

CouncilLORS have spoken of their frustration over how to tackle controversial quarry blasting in Leslie.

They are unhappy at the lack of action they c ould take against Skene Group - the company whose blasting is sparking a huge debate in the community.

Thee issue was raised again at last week’s Glenrothes Area Committee meeting as part of an on-going row over planning conditions governing Lomond Quarry.

Chief legal officer Iain Matheson and head of planning, Jim Birrell told the committee that an assessment of activity had been carried out and was judged to be not constituting a nuisance, resulting in no enforcement action being taken.

But councillors voiced anger at the long running saga.

Peter Grant said: “It seems either the Council has got itself into a mess, or the law is a mess” and added conditions had been breached since 2005 making it an ‘unacceptable situation to be in.’

“Cllr Kay Morrison said: “We seem to be saying to the people of Leslie , again and again that the council is powerless and impotent and can do nothing.”

Cllr Ross Vittraino meanwhile referred to the ‘cavalier attitude’ of the owners towards the council and asked whether Skene’s option to claim expenses for ‘unreasonable behaviour’ should be seen ‘as a threat.’

Following the decision to refuse the application, Neil Skene, Managing Director of the Skene group told the Gazette: “We are disappointed that councillors have decided not to follow the advice from their own officials, which said that it would not be appropriate to take enforcement action against the quarry.

“Officials had pointed out that enforcement action would contavene the terms of the Planning Enforcement Charter and national planning guidelines.”

“We recognise that not everone is happy with quarrying operations but this company has always observed noise and vibration limits attached to the planning permission.

“We want to work closely as possible with the community and the council and we will have to consider how we move forward from this decision.”

John Wincott, chairman of the Leslie Community Council believes action needs to be taken.

He said: “The quarry is only being told to open its gates at 8.00 a.m. instead of 7.00 a.m.

‘‘Surely it is not too much for the directors to be able to accommodate this minor change within the business, which will produce major benefits for the residents.”

Because the owners, Skene Group have now appealed on the grounds of ‘non detirmination’ to the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals, any 28 day enforcement notices by Fife Council would have to be suspended while the matter is being considered.