Excavation plan gets go-ahead at council
Proposal could reduce traffic levels in Blackford
Plans for almost 20,000 cubic metres of sand and gravel to be excavated from a Strath site in a move to reduce traffic congestion have been unanimously approved by councillors.
The proposal will see land 200 metres southeast of Milton of Panholes, beside the railway line connecting Perth and Stirling used as a ‘borrow pit’ to create a new access road to the Blackford Highland Spring plant on the south side of the tracks.
A total of 19,300 cubic metres of sand and gravel will be removed from an embankment over seven weeks, and the decision will see “significantly less” traffic pass through the streets of Blackford, according to council officials who spoke at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee last Wednesday.
The plans had initially been objected to by 10 individuals as well as Blackford Community Council – who raised issues over potential noise, dust, flooding risk, loss of open space, disturbing nesting sand martins and road disruption.
The community council also asked for clarification over the seven- week timescale.
Council officials confirmed that the work is estimated to take seven weeks, however the applicants have been allocated 12 months for the project.
The extra time has been permitted so that, should there be any delays, contractors Kilmac would not need to submit another application.
The proposal states that “mineral extraction and processing shall only be carried out at the site between the hours of 7am and 5pm Monday to Thursday and 7am to 3.30pm on Friday. No mineral extraction or processing will occur on Saturday or Sunday. No blasting shall take place on site.”
This timescale does not include haulage of the extracted materials.
Council officials also confirmed that any repairs needed to damage caused to the existing roads during the excavation project will be charged directly to the contractor.
While not objecting to the plans, Blackford Primary School parent council chair Andrew Sinclair highlighted their concerns over road safety, emissions and dust pollution and noise on behalf of the group, stating: “...whilst we have no overall objection to the works being carried out we do have overall concerns regarding our children’s health and wellbeing.”
Cllr Willie Wilson described the availability of the excavation point so nearby as “fortuitous”.
He added: “If it wasn’t extracted from the other side of the railway tracks, the material would need to come through the village.”
Committee convenor Cllr Murray Lyle agreed, highlighting the benefit of using the local materials rather than bringing the sand and gravel through the village.
The Strathallan ward elected member said: “There is approximately 30,000 tonnes of sand and gravel needed, which would require around 3000 lorry trips to be made through the village where there are already traffic problems.”
Entrance The Highland Spring plant in Blackford