Blinkbonny's extension is set in stone

Scottish Borders Council has given permission for a further extension of Blinkbonny Quarry near Kelso.

Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 3:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th January 2018, 3:49 pm
Jimmy Shanks of Blinkbonny Quarry near Gordon.

The 25-hectare hard rock quarry, south of Gordon village, will see its life prolonged after councillors granted permission to quarry owner Jimmy Shanks to lower its floor.

In 2014 permission for a three million tonne extension to the quarry was granted to further its working life by 20 years, and now the final worked level of the quarry floor will be dropped by 25m to 150m above sea level.

“The application is to deepen the floor of the quarry rather than extend it outwards, that means there are few concerns over visual impact,” the council’s principal planning officer Barry Fotheringham told the committee.

Scottish Natural Heritage initially raised concerns over de-watering arising as a result of the deepening, but withdrew its objection in a second response.

Kelso councillor Simon Mountford said: “Blinkbonny Quarry does have an economical benefit to the area so I am glad its life is being prolonged.”

East Berwickshire councillor Helen Laing added: “This does not seem to be contentious at all. Scottish Natural Heritage has withdrawn its objection so I don’t see that there is an issue here.”

Blinkbonny Quarry, opened by Mr Shanks in 2000, has grown steadily and now blasts and crushes its own rock, mines its own sand and mixes concrete on site before delivering the finished product by lorry.

The report before councillors stated: “It is considered that the proposal will not have a significant adverse impact on local biodiversity, the surrounding landscape or the setting of nearby listed buildings, subject to appropriate mitigation measures being put in place. The deepening of the proposed workings does not raise any insurmountable issues and the visual impact of the increased depth of extraction would have no greater landscape or visual impact than the current operations.
It is considered that the proposals comply with national and local policies in relation to mineral workings, and that subject to conditions to ensure appropriate regulation, monitoring and mitigation, that the development would not have any significant adverse impacts on the site or surrounding area, including surface water drainage, landscape, listed buildings and the amenity of neighbouring properties.”