Residents who say their lives have been blighted by blasting at a Fife quarry fear “the devil will be in the detail” after plans to extend work until 2040 were lodged.
Skene Group has been working on sand and gravel extraction at Lomond Quarry, near Leslie, since 1981 and was granted consent in 2009 to extract hard rock using blasting methods.
Complaints about noise, vibration and dust levels have been made by local people, who have described the effects of the blasts as like “mini-earthquakes” causing cracks to appear in walls and buildings to shake.
The construction company has submitted a proposal of application notice to continue working at the site for the next two decades, although the focus of extraction will shift towards the north and north-east, further from the village itself.
A spokesman for Skene Group said: “By shifting the hard rock extraction towards the north of the site, the work at the quarry will move significantly further away from the village.
“There will be no changes to traffic volumes, site access, the hours we operate and the amount we can remove each year.”
In its planning application to Fife Council, environmental consultant Ironside Farrar said the changes would create a “wider buffer to Leslie and an opportunity to complete early restoration of the boundary”.
A more detailed application is expected in October but Ironside Farrar is hosting an online consultation from August 19 that will allow people to comment and raise questions.
Leslie resident and local councillor Jan Wincott said news the company wants to extend planning permission to blast at the site “will not be a surprise” to those living nearby.
“On the face of it, moving the blasting northwards away from the village would seem a positive move but the devil will be in the detail which is not yet available.
“Whilst understandable that face-to-face public meetings will not be able to take place at this time, it will inevitably exclude many residents from taking part in the consultation.
“It is regrettable that the Skene Group feel they cannot wait for a more appropriate time to bring this forward, especially as the existing permission has another 12 years to run. One has to question the timing and motives.
“The last two blasts have been particularly bad and have caused quite a number of local complaints.
“Although the magnitude of the blasts has been compliant in terms of the conditions agreed by Fife Council, it illustrates the failure of one figure being the measure by which a community is protected.
“When a blast sets off burglar alarms, and rattles crockery in cupboards it is not acceptable. ”
An independent report commissioned by residents several years ago said operations at the complex were “potentially a nuisance” in terms of noise, suggesting planning conditions and a noise management plan had set noise limits at too high a level.
However, the company described that report as “flawed” and noted the quarry has been operating within levels laid down in original planning consent.