Quarrying to continue at Pitcaple

AN application for continued quarrying and recycling operations at Pitcaple Quarry, by Aberdeenshire Council was approved at the meeting of the Garioch Area Committee on Tuesday (May 10).

The committee heard that planning permission for quarrying at the site was granted in October 1994, with a condition that the permission was agreed for a temporary period of 15 years and included conditions that set a maximum of 4 metres for the earth bunds at the site, that ours of operation were restricted to Monday to Friday from 7.15am to 4.15pm and lasting was restricted to weekdays between 10am and 4pm, with a maximum of four blasts per month.

One letter of representation had been received stating that “the application should be treated in parity with the Council’s stance in relation to the similar situation at WRG’s proposals at Wester Hatton. The situation here is that the Council have argued for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (disputed) but it seems inappropriate to be applying one set of rules to one site and a completely different set of rules to another. Either an EIA is required for such extensions of land uses or not”. The letter also stated that the application had not addressed restoration matters.

The application proposed operating hours from April to October of 7.30 am to 4pm, and from October to April of 8am to 3.30pm. Saturday hours between 7am and 5pm throughout the year were also proposed. It also requested occasional Sunday working. The Council’s Infrastructure Services (Environmental Health) recommended normal working hours be restricted to Monday to Friday from 7am to 7pm and Saturday from 7am to 12noon, with a degree of flexibility provided.

Drilling and blasting would continue but but would be controlled to reduce impact on the surrounding area.

A restoration plan was also submitted, indicating that the quarry has a perspective lifespan of of at least 50 years.

East Garioch Councillor Martin Ford asked about the letter of representation regarding the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment. He was informed that although the site did contain the Pitscaple and Legatsden Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) of geological interest, and as long as rock faces are not covered over, and the length of time that the quarry had been operational meant an EIA was not required.