Quarry company blasted!

A QUARRY company operating on the Keady mountain is doing so in spite of an enforcement notice to stop blasting and removing rock from the site, the Causeway Coast and Glens Council have told the Northern Constitution.

Ardstraw Quarries operates a rock quarry just outside Limavady, providing stone and gravel to the construction, agricultural and concrete industries, as well as various government agencies.

A spokesperson for Causeway Coast and Glens Council confirmed with the Northern Constitution that an enforcement notice was issued to Ardstraw Quarries on September 26, 2018.

The enforcement noticed required the cessation of blasting, processing and removal of minerals from the site at Keady Quarry.

The spokesperson continued: “The notice was not appealed and took effect on November 7 2018 with 28 days to comply.

“The time for compliance has now passed, the Council has established that the quarry has not ceased as required and is considering the next steps required to secure compliance.”

SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat claims that an Enforcement Notice banning the extraction of rock from a quarry in Limavady has not stopped quarrying and is causing havoc for neighbours who fear a landslide.

John Dallat MLA said: “This operation has not ceased, machinery is still on site and vehicles are still drawing material from the rock face.

“Pictures taken by a drone show clearly that activity has not come to a stop after years of endeavour by neighbours to have the practice outlawed by the planners.”

In the most recent communication from Causeway Coast and Glens Council the Business Support Officer for the Planning Department said: “The council is now aware that the quarry is in operation in breach of the effective enforcement notice and is now taking legal advice on how to proceed.”

MLA Dallat continued: “This quarry ceased operations more than 30 years ago but was reactivated two years ago and even now it is still functioning despite the absence of an up-to-date planning approval.

“That is extremely worrying and raises serious questions as to whether planning enforcement is fit for purpose given the experience of those living near the Keady Mountain.

“Even if this operation is stopped there remains a constant worry that there will be a landslide sometime in the future and what the consequences that would have for those living in the area.

“There may, of course, be wider environmental issues relating to pollution and the impact that could have on watercourses and drainage systems.

“The mountain is, quite literally, melting like snow off a ditch.”

Ardstraw Quarries, the company operating on Keady mountain, has called on SDLP MLA John Dallat to substantiate claims he made that the quarry is a risk to health and safety in the area.

Speaking on behalf of Ardstraw Quarries, solicitor John Fox told the Northern Constitution: “It is important that any allegation of risk to pollution, health and/or safety is substantiated; the statement of Mr. Dallat does not do this.”

Mr Fox continued: “Ardstraw Quarries is a Family run business operating out of two quarry sites.

The business established over 40 years ago has always aimed to supply quarry material to the local community.

"The company is conscious of its obligations to protect the environment and ensure that its Quarries are operated in a safe manner.

There is no evidence of the quarry causing pollution to the nearby watercourse or any evidence of a risk of landslide.

"The Causeway Coast and Glens Council having issued an Enforcement notice to which the Company has complied with.

The Quarry activities currently being undertaken are authorised by the original planning permission.

"The company at all stages have engaged with the Council and offered to meet the Council to discuss the operations and address any concerns.

To date the Council has not taken up the offer to meet with the Company.

"The concerns of Mr Dallat are noted and the Company operates in such a manner so as to respect the surrounding environment and to operate within the law.

"Perhaps if the Council afforded the Company the opportunity to discuss matters it may allay many of the concerns which Mr Dallat is trying to raise."

Ardstraw Quarries added that it “provides well valued employment within the area and its years of experience and trading stand to show that it values the local community and continues to deliver a high quality and reliable service.”

Perhaps if the Council afforded the Company the opportunity to discuss matters it may allay many of the concerns which Mr Dallat is trying to raise.

Ardstraw Quarries added that it “provides well valued employment within the area and its years of experience and trading stand to show that it values the local community and continues to deliver a high quality and reliable service.”

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Alpha Newspaper Group

Characters left: 1500

BREAKING