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Appeal lodged against plans to reopen Ravensdale quarry

Appeal lodged against plans to reopen Ravensdale quarry

As expected the first appeal has been lodged against Louth County Council’s decision to allow the local quarry in Ballymakellett in Ravensdale to reopen.

Last month Arabtec Capital Unlimited were granted conditional planning permission by Louth County Council to reopen the quarry, which hasn’t been in use for almost half a century.

A public meeting of local residents took place recently in Ravensdale Community Centre with An Bord Pleanála confirming that a third party appeal had been lodged by Joseph and Roseleen Mullen.

With others expected, this will delay the proposed reopening and perhaps threaten to derail it once again.

More than three years ago in September 2015 Louth County Council granted planning permission to Burncorp Group Limited to reopen the quarry, also for the production of road marking and aggregate materials.

Around 70 objections were lodged from local residents with the council’s decision subsequently overturned on appeal to An Bord Pleanála in March 2016. It is now expected a similar route of appeal will be expored.

The last time residents went down that route they expressed concerns over air and land pollution from quarry dust and the possible health hazard this would create for residents. They also outlined their concerns in relation to traffic and the damage that could be caused to residences by the movement of rocks in 20 to 40 tonne trucks.

They further felt that the value of their houses would fall due to its proximity to an in-use quarry and expressed concerns over pollution to the local water supply and its impact on local wildlife.

As well as objections from the residents, Inland Fisheries Ireland also objected vehemently to the move.

In reaching their verdict two years ago, An Bord Pleanála pointed out that Drumenagh Quarry was designated as a Site of Geological Interest in the Louth County Development Plan 2015-2021 and “constitutes the best exposure of the early-stage gabro in the Carlingford Igneous Complex.” They found that Burncorp did not “adequately demonstrate that the proposed development would not adversely affect the features that have given rise to the recommendation to designate this quarry.”

They said they were therefore “not satisfied that the proposed development would not result in the direct loss of the features of geological interest of the site.”

Local residents previously objected to the reopening of the quarry in 2006.

At the time the council granted planning permission to Eco Quarrie to open the quarry with residents appealing the decision to An Bord Pleanála then as well. While they were unsuccessful in that appeal, the approval was never taken up after the planning authority implemented 23 strict conditions, one of which stated that operations would have to be completed within 24 months.

A previous application was also given the go ahead to reopen the quarry in 1992 but once again An Bord Pleanála overturned the council’s decision.

It is understood that no operations have taken place on the site since 1962.

The permission, granted on November 15th, comes with 21 conditions including measures aimed at controlling noise, dust and waste management, as well as archaeological and geological monitoring of the site.

As part of their application Arabtec had been given the go ahead for a temporary office, welfare facilities, a weighbridge and wheel wash.

The permission is valid for a period of five years from the grant of permission and a further two years for restoration works to be completed.

One of the conditions is that work should commence in the period from September 1st to the last day of February of the following year to avoid disturbance and destruction of breeding habitats.