What was this all about?
Full planning application was submitted to the Argyll and Bute Council to create a Sand and Gravel Extraction Quarry in Glen Creran with permission of the Landowner, Dominique Collinet, a Belgian Businessman, stated at Companies house to be usually resident in Luxembourg, who had agreed to extract Gravel and Sand in the first phase for commercial profit reasons. The Application had been submitted by A&L McCrae Ltd. .
There are also LANDFILL concerns!
The application also sought permission to use the site as a Landfill area for 35,000 tons of inert waste. This could have included building debris, bricks, concrete all to be 'dumped' in Glen Creran!
What are the Planning Permission Requirements?
Glen Creran is designated as an area of Panoramic Beauty in the LORN area of Scotland and in the Development Plan including Policy MIN 2 there is a presumption against any Quarry Activities, unless it can be demonstrated that there is a shortage of materials in the area. Council Planners and Independent Experts reports confirmed that there are already a number of Quarries that can provide the same materials.
What is one of the most important risks?
Loch Creran is a European Marine Protected Area with Serpulid Reefs and is the only site in the UK. For that reason it is protected by European Law and based on information provided to us any damage caused can result in unlimited fines to the persons and/or authorities concerned. The area proposed for the Quarry is in a SEPA Flood Plain and independent experts believe it will inevitably flood and silts would have entered and polluted the salmon River Creran and Loch System.
Why is this so important?
Argyll is a huge area for Tourism, this underpins many thousands of jobs and local businesses producing large amounts of income ever year. Surely we must protect one of our most beautiful Glens? Was a Quarry and the profits of one Foreign Landowner more important than the tourist industry and conservation?
What has happened so far?
Since application was made there have been approaching 2,000 objections sent directly to Argyll and Bute Council and DPEA. We also received numerous messages of support and objections from conservation organisations, conservation experts, Councillors and our MP and MSP including a Government Minister.
Why did we take Action to stop it?
Glen Creran is a beautiful area of the Highlands and home to a host of wildlife and protected species including Butterflies, Birds, Bats, Otters, Pine Martins, Badgers and Red Squirrel and many others. There are some two hundred specimens of Lichen on the trees in Glen Creran Woods and National Nature Reserve of Glasdrum, some are extremely rare. Badger SETTS have been found in the locality and a SETT run was alleged to have been disturbed and blocked off within the last few months.
Are the Roads Suitable for Heavy Goods Vehicles?
The road in Glen Creran is single track, there are no pavements, and there is no public transport. This obliges visitors and residents to walk, or cycle, or use their cars. Because the Glen and Loch Creran basin are a very popular destination for holidaymakers and local people heavy gravel trucks will pose a great danger to everybody, especially children, older people who may have hearing difficulties and cyclists if they are obliged to reverse if faced with oncoming traffic. If the Quarry were to have been developed we estimated some 1,500 to 2,000 lorry movements per year on a road that is very narrow, with few passing places, and 'blind bends'. If operations were to be stopped due to bad weather there would have been periods of very heavy traffic daily.
What were the Environmental Risks?
The development was defined as a ‘major development’ per the Town and Country Planning (Hierarchy of Developments) (Scotland) Regulations 2009 and is against the current adopted Local Development Plan and Policy LDP MIN 2. The Council had stated that it has potential to give rise to inter-related effects that could prove to be incapable of satisfactory management There were allegations of risks of possible Lung Damage over long periods from Silicosis, a form of Cancer, alleged to be caused by Quarry Dust and Air Pollution, see NHS site for details. Also noise Pollution, danger to road users, especially children and older people, from heavy traffic from trucks on a single track road, possible damage to the River and Loch, local Protected Woodlands and many other aspects.