No support for quarry at Beauty Hill

Garioch councillors have spoken out against controversial plans to create a quarry “the size of 12 football pitches” just outside Newmachar.

By Kirstie Topp, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 10:21 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 12:59 pm
Councillors are against plans to form the quarry at Beauty Hill.
Councillors are against plans to form the quarry at Beauty Hill.

JKR Contractors Ltd are seeking planning permission to form the quarry at Beauty Hill.

The firm is hoping their plan gets the go-ahead so the site at Rainnieshill can be dug up to provide up to 500,000 tonnes of “high-quality” hard rock over 13 years.

Work at the new quarry would allow the company to become self-sufficient.

Plans for the development were first lodged with Aberdeenshire Council back in 2019 and it has attracted scores of objections from local residents since.

A total of 189 objections had been received along with 135 letters of support.

However a petition had also been created against the quarry plans which gathered a staggering 743 signatures.

Those in support of the development said it would support local businesses and provide a boost to the area’s economic recovery.

They also said the scale of the quarry was not large enough to cause disturbance.

However objectors raised concerns that the quarry would lead to an increase in noise and dust, create road safety issues including increased traffic/congestion and have an impact on the landscape.

Concerns that the quarry could impact on the privacy of those living nearby as well as noise impacting on mental health of residents including those working from home were also raised.

The planning application went before the Garioch Area Committee on Tuesday last week.

Councillors were asked to comment on the plan and give a recommendation to their counterparts on the Formartine Area Committee.

Councillor Jim Gifford spoke at the meeting to voice his objection as a local resident.

He said: “We are a family living in a house which has occupied this quiet rural location for hundreds of years, which has been our home for over 30 years.

"There’s no mention of the real noise that comes from quarrying and we have first hand experience of that.

“The real noise is the screeching and scraping of steel buckets on hard rock as the stone is extracted and the loud booms as the rock is dropped in the trailers.”

Councillor Gifford added: “We can see no mention of that or any assessment of what that noise would be when added to the other sounds of diesel engines, generators, rock drills, pumps, stone crushers, and screening machines that will also be operating on site.”

Mr Gifford also said that the quarry would be “an ugly scar” on Beauty Hill.

Following debate the Garioch councillors said the application should be refused on the grounds that it would have a “significant and detrimental” impact on the surrounding landscape and neighbouring properties.

They also believed that the principle of the development had not been established adding that the benefits of the quarry would not outweigh the impact on nearby residents.

The application will now go before the Formartine Area Committee for consideration.