Welcome to the community consultation website for the proposed Kilmartin Quarry extension.
Kilmartin Quarry is located within Upper Largie farm, situated North West of the village of Kilmartin. Kilmartin is a small village within Argyll and Bute and located approximately 8 miles North of Lochgilphead and 29 miles South of Oban.
If approved, the extension will cover a site approximated 4 hectares and provide continued mineral resources for circa 20 years.
The proposal is being developed by Johnston Poole & Bloomer for MacLeod Construction Limited.
Johnson Poole and Bloomer is an independent multidisciplinary engineering and scientific consultancy operating in several closely related and complementary areas - Geotechnical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Contamination, Mineral Planning Surveying and Mineral Planning.
Established in 1844 by Henry Johnson, the firms operates throughout the United Kingdom and beyond, from its offices in Glasgow, Brierley Hill, Cardiff and Wells. Johnston Poole and Bloomer is committed and strives to provide an independent effective service of the highest quality. The company offers objective advise and practical solutions based upon well founded technical judgements drawn from over a 175 years of experience.
MacLeod Construction Limited, a local family run business that has been trading for over 50 years. The business mainly focuses around construction but over the years they have taken-on other divisions such as quarries in order to supply local materials for their projects, local businesses and the domestic public.
The current site has a limited amount of reserves and in order to maintain the quarry an extension of approximately 4 hectares is proposed.
The extension area is located to the North/East and will be a natural continuation of the current site.
The extension will be split over 3 phases allowing the site to be worked progressively incorporating phased restoration into the development design.
Detailed information on the proposal is provided below.
The site provides an important sources of sand and gravels to the Mid-Argyll region offering varying ranges of aggregates to support local construction, landscaping and the domestic decorative market.
The quarry provides employment for a range of personnel across the company e.g. site based operatives, transport operatives, plant operatives, survey, support and admin personnel.
The company actively employees trainees and apprentices and the quarry offers various opportunities directly and helps to support indirect opportunities also.
Archaeological investigations have been undertaken in the quarry since 1983, and have helped to uncover a wealth of features and artecfacts. More details are below on some of these amazing finds.
The scoping review, environmental studies and pre-application consultation with Argyll and Bute Council have largely been completed.
This website has been produced as part of the public consultation in respect of the proposal. As noted above, an online community engagement event will be held Wednesday 12th August (please see public exhibition section for details). Any comments made at this stage to the prospective applicant do not constitute representations to the Planning Authority.
Following the consultation, a planning application will be made taking into account the comments received. Once a planning application has been submitted, formal representations can be made to Argyll and Bute council.
Once the planning application process is completed, the Local Authority will make a decision on the application.
Extraction at the current site predominately takes place under planning permission Ref 15/02114, however, it is anticipated there are only resources for approximately 3 years of working at current extraction levels. The proposed extension comprises approximately 4 hectares of land which will secure sufficient resources to extend the lifespan of the quarry for a further 20 years.
The proposed extraction process will maintain the same methods as before, excavators are used to extract the raw material which is then transported using dump trucks to the processing area. The fixed electrical screening plant then washes and screens the sands and gravels into sand and aggregate products ready for stockpiling and uplift.
It is proposed to carry out the extension over 3 phases, each around 6-8 years , allowing the site to be worked progressively incorporating phased restoration into the development design. The figures below show the current extent of the quarry and the proposed extension in the prospective phases.
Phase 1 sees the commencement of the extension, and the initial phase of extraction requiring relocation of the overhead power line.
Phase 2 continues extraction north eastwards further into the extension area. Soil and overburden from Phase 2 will be used to the restoration of the Phase 1 working area as part of the progressive restoration of the site.
The last phase progresses the quarry face north eastwards to the boundary of the extension area. As with Phase 2, soil and overburden from Phase 3 will be used to restore the Phase 2 working area as part of the progressive restoration of the site.
An initial consultation has been undertaken with Argyll & Bute Council and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening opinion provided. This confirmed that a formal EIA was not required but that a number of studies should be completed to inform site design and confirm environmental acceptability of the development.
An Ecology appraisal has been undertaken by Lawrence Environmental Consultants.
The extension site comprises improved grassland with two standalone sycamore trees which will be affected by the development. One of the two mature sycamore trees within the site boundary has potential to support bats, therefore, prior to the tree being felled the cavities in the tree would surveyed by a licensed bat surveyor. The survey will be carried out in-line with the requirements of SNH and if bats are present a license would be applied for to translocate roosting bats prior to felling.
The drystone dyke along the Southern site margins is likely to present a refuge for amphibians. Reptiles will be monitored by placement of refugia adjacent to the dyke that requires to be removed. These will be checked regularly between April and September in the year/months before the dyke is dismantled. Drift fencing barriers will be deployed to prevent reptiles re-colonising the dyke. Slow worms/common lizards, if present, will be translocated to suitable habitat in the restored areas of the existing quarry.
The dyke will be dismantled under ecological supervision during the April/September period with any remaining reptiles translocated. Stone piles will be placed as new refugia in restored areas of the existing site.
A Dust management plan has been prepared for the site incorporating industry good practice in the minimisation and control of emissions.
This will ensure any impacts are reduced, localised and will not have significant adverse effects.
Potential noise impacts resulting from the proposals have been assessed by an independent noise specialist Vibrock. Noise modelling has been undertaken in order to predict the worst case noise levels. The noise modelling results show that the predicted noise levels will accord with appropriate limits for noise from mineral workings at residential properties as detailed within government guidance.
Mineral extraction will take place above the water table. A Construction Environmental Management Plan will be produce to ensure impacts upon water are suitably controlled.
In line with the requirements of West of Scotland Archaeology Service, an archaeological evaluation of the site has been undertaken by Argyll Archaeology involving the trial trenching of 10% of the site. A scattering of archaeological features were identified across the site including a probable burial cairn and Neolithic Cursus. It is therefore recommended that future soil stripping is undertaken under archaeological supervision followed by full excavation, reporting and publication of findings.
To-date the quarry has helped to recover a wealth of findings which have all been professionally excavated, recorded and donated. These artefacts and features range from Mesolithic (Middle stone age, the first inhabitants of the land after the last glacial period), Neolithic (New stone age, responsible for most of the visible remains in the valley), the Copper and the Bronze ages through to Medieval and more recent agricultural activities.
Whilst the spread of activity dates is not in itself unusual, it is the environment in which the quarry operates that makes it near unique, and it is only as a result of the quarrying operations that investigations and finds resulting from these detailed examinations have provided archaeologists, enthusiasts and the general public with far greater understanding of the evolution of this very special landscape and the activities of the people living or visiting the area since the end of the last ice age.
Some of the unique and internationally important artefacts are now in the Kilmartin Museum's collection as a result of the work at Upper Largie, strongly linking to the themes of the Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll (RARFA)*
All post excavation research and the archaeological excavations at the site have been fully funded by the quarry.
Some of the Unique items found to date:
A full Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) will be undertaken as part of the final submission, however from initial investigation it is expected that the proposals will generate a compact visual envelope - i.e. predominantly within 2km.
This is supported by the initial Zone of Theoretical Visibility Impact (ZTVI) analysis which illustrated visibility of the proposed extension being focused primarily in a Northeast Southwest direction along the valley.
Through a combination of existing topography and extensive tree cover, the visual influence of the proposal is not expected to generate significant landscape and visual impact. The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment will fully consider the extent of potential impacts to the character of the landscape, and identify a number of key viewpoints within the ZTVI from which visual impact will be considered.