Public Meeting: Middleton Quarry Infill and Restoration

 NEW UPDATES

12 August 2015 – the planning application is open for comments by 21st August 2015.  click here to get the MCC response and a link to the Midlothian Council Web page with the planning application, and a note on how to make your comments if you want to.

Brian Quigley’s presentation on the residents’  experience during infilling of the upper quarry.
Part 1. View in slide share here.


Part 2. view in slide share 

Meeting Summary:

About 100+ people attended a Public Meeting at North Middleton Village Hall on the 23rd March, organised by Moorfoot Community Council to hear about and voice their concerns for plans for infilling at Middleton Quarry.

Neil Williams Haulage are preparing an application to Midlothian Council for permission to infill the lower half of Middleton Quarry over a period of 6 years, with an average of 66 lorry movements per day 6 days a week from 7am until 6 pm.

Mr W Booth, of Dalgleish Associates Limited gave a presentation on behalf of NWH.

Local farmer, Mr Brian Quigley, also presented photographic evidence of problems experienced during the current infilling by NWH of the upper part of Middleton Quarry.  Some of the key issues were

  • the volume of lorries on the small road (to the extent that lorries were parked up in lines on the road waiting to get into the quarry
  • lack of space for lorries to pass each other on the road, leading to the grass verges being destroyed, which has meant walkers and cyclists are not able to use that route, which is part of the national cycle way route.
  • amount of mud and dirt on the road – due to lack of washing facilities in the quarry
  • amount of dust in dry weather
  • disturbance
  • lack of information about plans
  • lorry drivers not adhering to standards and code of conduct – eg opening covers before they are in the quarry and / or closing them after they leave it, resulting in material being dropped on the roads.

Questions from the floor focussed on dangers caused to pedestrians and cyclists, unsuitability of the local access roads for the numbers of lorries, mud on the roads and hazards of stones “coming off” or being thrown up by passing lorries. Mark Williams, Managing Director of NWH stated that a wheel wash would be installed. Road upgrading/maintenance and repair were not considered the responsibility of NWH, but could be contributed towards pro-rata with other road heavy users such as the other companies based at the quarry. He considered repair would be only relevant at the end of the process.

Mr Williams said there was “little management could do to monitor drivers” in response to observations that NWH driver standards were not adhered to.

An Environmental Impact Assessment has to be part of the formal planning application.

It is proposed that the infilled site will be for “recreational” use though details were unspecified, and no mention was made for returning the land to agricultural use which was a condition of the original quarry planning permission. No “bond” is planned by NWH to guarantee completion of work in the event of NWH falling into financial difficulties.

Until 21st April comments can be sent to Dalgleish Associates Ltd, 1 Sinclairs Street, Dunblane FK15 0AH or to willie.booth@dalgleishassociates.co.uk A full application will be submitted sometime in May from which time there will be a 12 week period in which to put in comments/objections to Midlothian Planning Department.

Summary of Question and answer session

MW outlined the background to the proposal. NWH bought the site from Leith’s on the basis that they (Leith’s) had consent to infill the quarry. NWH intended to infill the Upper Quarry (currently ongoing) with material from the Borders Railway but the promised amounts have not materialized therefore the infill is taking longer than expected. The Upper Quarry infill is being carried out under the terms of the original planning consent which has no requirement for wheel washes etc.

What will be done about rocks hitting pavements and muck on the roads?

We are planning to spray wash all trucks before they leave the quarry followed by driving over a 20-30m concreted area prior to reaching public road. Drivers all supposed to check tyres for stones to prevent damage to cars. If damage still occurs, people can pick up insurance forms from NWH office. Trucks will use tarpaulins to safeguard loose stones from falling.

Where will the infill be coming from and what route?

Material will come from Edinburgh (75%) and surrounding areas, East Lothian, Midlothian.   Most will come down the A7 from the north and turn off to the quarry.

Will you be upgrading the road which is in an extremely poor condition to take the heavy lorry traffic and will there be pedestrian access?

There are no plans to do this unless the Traffic Assessment stipulates we must do so. We would be happy to put right any damage at end of works, pro rata with other users. There are other truck companies in the area and agricultural traffic.

There have been instances of trucks exceeding speed limit and drivers taking off tarpaulin too early, along with driving without regard for the verges and pedestrians. Do you intend to have a Code of Conduct for your drivers?

There have been no instances were drivers have been charged with speeding or any careless driving. All drivers go through management appraisal procedures and are aware of their duty to follow instructions. There is little that management can do to monitor drivers. We also have no control over sub-contractors although they are rarely used.

The meeting strongly felt that any poor conduct from the drivers was management’s responsibility.

Willie Booth said that they would look at having a code of conduct in place for the drivers.

Is there a monitoring system in place? What should the public do if they witness a driver being negligent? E.g. pulling out of quarry without warning into the way of traffic?

Take the driver’s number plate and let me know.

Where exactly will the lorries leave the quarry from?

They will leave from the bottom entrance only. There will be clear stop signs and white lines to make it clear for the drivers. Awaiting feedback from Traffic/Transport Department. Infill of the Lower quarry will not commence until infill of the Upper Quarry is completed. Once the Upper Quarry infill is complete (expected by Christmas 2015), there will be no further lorry movements across the Esperston Road.

Please clarify, on the figures you have given that there will be one lorry every 8 minutes, approximately. The road at present cannot cope with this amount, will you be upgrading it before you start. Verges are already practically non-existent due to trucks passing each other on too narrow a road and churning them up?

WB agreed with this figure of 1 movement every 8 minutes. MW reiterated there was no intention to upgrade prior to starting unless Transport Assessment stipulates they must do so.

Can you reassure us that you will stick to the rules set out by Planning? These have not been adhered to in the past. If not, will the planning authority take action for non-compliance?

MW The new planning consent will come with controls in place and the planning authority will enforce these. He stated he would be happy to hear concerns at any time and also offered to come to Community Council meetings on a regular basis to hear any concerns.

The National Transport Charter recommends a run off of 120 meters. Why are you quoting only a 20-30m run off?

We have been assured that due to Topography, location of weighbridge and type of waste, 20m would be more than sufficient.

Concerns raised over no wheel-wash in Mayfield?

No answer given.

Is it a requirement to have a wheel wash?

Maybe not, but NWH will put in a wheel wash. Prior problems with mud on the road may be related to the weighbridge being located too close to the exit to allow for cleaning/removing stones.

Why 7am till 6pm on a Saturday?

We will look at all points raised during the consultation period.

There is already water seepage into the burn. How are you going to prevent further pollution from the water running off?

Geo Textile Membrane is to be used on the base of the quarry with water running off into the mines. It will also be monitored by SEPA and advice taken from them at all points.

How will you improve dust suppression in the summer? This has been very bad in the past?

We will be using water bowsers when necessary but are sure the measures we are taking to prevent dust and mud leaving the quarry will be sufficient. Main dust problem is from dried mud on the roads. We will aim to prevent mud getting on the roads which should address any dust issue.

The time period of 6 years has been quoted. Given that markets go up and down, how can you be sure of this time period can you be sure there will be enough material available on the market to complete the infill? Also, is there a bond in place to insure against the company having financial problems in the future?

The infill we are undertaking will ensure the site improves from the start. Therefore, the site is unlike an active quarry or mine site where bonds or financial guarantees are typically provided. NWH is a family business. We own the site and aim to retain ownership after restoration. There are no major market concerns as we are now out of the recession which the company came through with no issues.   Very confident the 6 year target is achievable. There will be 110,000 cubic meters of infill shifted per year. This equates to 200,000 tonnes of material a year. NWH hauls 700,000 tonnes a year and in the last four years has been tipping 200-250,000 tonnes a year in this area.

A house in Bells Mains has been flooded twice due to sludge from the lorries blocking the drains?

Residents are welcome to ask the driver of road sweeper to clear the sludge at any time.

What are you going to do about the noise from this works?

This is part of the Assessment which is underway and Planning can put restrictions on it. We do not foresee any issues with noise as it has to be over 45 decibels for 90% of the time to be an issue.

Will a draft of the Environmental Statement be put online for the public to see?

No, as it is a draft, it could change. There are ongoing assessments taking place just now and we will probably not have all the results until the end of April. These assessments are ecological, hydrological, topographical and transport/traffic.

These will eventually be able to be seen on line when at the next planning stages.

What route will the lorries take when bringing infill from East Lothian? Will it go through Vogrie Road or Crawlees Road for instance? These roads are too small for heavy traffic?

Don’t foresee this being the route taken and most materials will come down the A7. Lorries won’t use Lady Brae. If coming from East Lothian they might go via Tynehead. “Comfortably 95%” would be coming down the A7 from the Sherrifhall Roundabout.

Monday, 23rd March 2015

North Middleton Village Hall

7 -9pm

Proposal for Infill & Restoration

There will be a presentation by Neil Williams Haulage on their proposed plans for the site including timings, infill materials, etc.

Open to all for questions, answers and comments

This is the opportunity for local residents to raise concerns and ask NWH how they will address them and minimise impact during the 7 year restoration period.

23 March, 7 – 9pm  at North Middleton Village Hall

54 Borthwick Castle Terrace, Gorebridge, Midlothian EH23 4QU

Lower quarry2

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