Argyllshire Advertiser

Residents make noise over plans for quarry extension


A proposal to extend a sand and gravel quarry at Kilmartin went before planners this week, writes Colin Cameron.

The applicatio­n, by MacLeod Constructi­on Limited, to expand the north eastern side of its existing quarry attracted 201 comments in support and 54 against, with 26 others.

Dunadd Community Council raised concerns that noise was ‘often excessive’. Other villagers have complained, among other things, about current noise levels from the quarry already being too high and being heard inside homes.

According to some residents, retired villagers can no longer enjoy sitting outside their homes because of the ‘sound of crushing machines’.

And there was upset recently when the quarry upped its noise limit to 45 decibels.

‘That is the limit for quarries in rural areas but this is not a rural area, this is a village. The quarry is just 200 metres away,’ said Simon Hunt, who runs luxury accommodat­ion at Kilmartin Castle with his partner Stef Burgeon. The couple have claimed that noise from the quarry could damage their business.

Council officers, however, reported that noise mitigation measures had been introduced at the quarry and that the most recent assessment demonstrat­ed that it was having the desired effect with the works ‘practicall­y inaudible’ at the survey locations. Environmen­tal health was also content with those findings.

A council spokespers­on said: ‘There are separate ongoing investigat­ions by the council’s environmen­tal health service under the Environmen­tal Protection Act 1990 which are still to be concluded.

‘The determinat­ion of the planning applicatio­n and Environmen­tal Health investigat­ion are not interdepen­dent. In the event of noise levels being determined to be a statutory nuisance, the council can initiate formal action under this Act.’

At a meeting of the council’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee on April 21, officers recommende­d approval of the applicatio­n, subject to 27 conditions, but also proposed a discretion­ary hearing so any objectors and supporters can speak.

Ms Burgeon said: ‘If they put up proper sound baffling that actually works then everyone would be happy.

‘They could continue quarrying and the villagers could get on with enjoying their lives in peace.’

Jane MacLeod of MacLeod Constructi­on Limited said as part of the planning process sound tests had been carried out by a leading environmen­tal consultanc­y firm approved by the council. Baffles and other noise reduction steps taken by the company have reduced noise levels significan­tly, although previous noise levels were ‘very close to and often within permitted levels,’ she said, adding the consultant’s report sent to the council indicated that noise levels are now ‘below background noise’ such as passing vehicles and birdsong, and are well within permitted levels.

There are no rock breakers in the quarry and ‘we do not crush rock in the quarry,’ she added.

‘If they put up baffling that works, everyone would be happy.’

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