It looks as if we have achieved the first objective, and we expected the potential operator for the eastern half of the quarry, Patersons, to start the Review of Old Mineral Permission (ROMP) process in the near future.
It now appears that they have had some difficulties getting the necessary co-operation of the operator of the western half of the quarry, Tarmac, and this has effectively put a stop to this approach. However, Patersons have not given up and they now propose to submit a new planning permission for their half of the site totally independent of the ROMP process. It is a moot question whether they are entitled to do this but so far Stirling Council seem to accept that they cannot stop the application.
What does this mean for our campaign?
As you might expect, there are pros and cons to this approach. The major cons are: we are convinced that a new planning application opens up the possibility that the time period for the quarry permission could be extended well beyond the current 2042 date; the chances of stopping the quarry opening are less than if a ROMP process is adopted, and finally the start of quarrying could be brought forward.
The only pro we can see is that Stirling Council would be able to impose stricter conditions on a new application (so we have been assured!) than would be possible with a review of the old permission.
The effect on Tarmac could be important. If a new planning permission is granted to Patersons for the eastern half of the site, then it may be that the old planning permission, which covers the east and west halves, would probably have to be revoked. Stirling Council may be able to find a way round this problem through the planning regulations, but, if not, Tarmac will be seriously disadvantaged and are likely to use their considerable resources to stop it happening. It may be then that if the community decides that it does not support the new application process... we will have an ally in Tarmac!
One thing we need to bear in mind is that, irrespective of whether Patersons submit a new planning application or are forced to stick with the ROMP process, we still need to make a strong case against the application. This will take the form of identifying possible conflicts with the Local Development Plan, careful consideration of the effectiveness of any mitigation measures in the application, an awareness of the strategic need for rock in this area and whether Murrayshall is required to meet this need.
If you have any expertise in this area and can contribute to developing a strong case against quarrying, please let us know.
We need help urgently!