Sixteen unlicensed quarries are facing closure by Kildare County Council because it is claimed they operated without proper planning consents and without proper environmental approval.
The quarries are based across the county, from Moone to Enfield.
KCC is currently tightening up its quarry regulations as directed by the Department of Environment.
More than a year ago, it examined every quarry in its administration to determine if the quarry was registered, if the quarry had carried out environmental impact assessments and/or if one was required. The directive came from a 2008 EU ruling whereby it removed the option to apply for retention permission from developments which require environmental impact assessment.
If no assessments were done and/or if the quarry was unregistered, KCC issued a notice to the owner/operator of the quarry requiring it to submit an application to An Bord Pleanala for consent. The application was also required to be accompanied by a remedial environmental impact statement.
Some 35 quarries across Kildare were listed in-bulk with An Bord Pleanala last month. Each quarry owner/operator had 21 days to apply for consent with an environmental assessment or face closure. Of that 35, 16 of these quarries have declined to report with the planning authority.
In a statement to the Leader, KCC said: “These files will now be assessed with a view to issuing enforcement notices requiring the developer to take such steps as are considered appropriate.” It did not give a timetable to enforcement proceedings.
According to planning consultant David Mulcahy of www.irishplanning.ie, the move is welcomed in that the quarry market in the county will now be fully regulated. He also said that while many operators may not longer be in business, some are and that job losses will occur and also the cost of returning the quarries to their original state will be considerable.
“Unlicensed operators were invited to appy for substitute consent. Some quarries declined for a number of reasons. Maybe they are not in operation anymore; maybe the report and the environment assessment required might been too costly (It can cost anything between E30,000 to E60,000); or maybe they are taking a wait-and-see approach, as in if there will be actual enforcement procedures and what form they will take. Enforcement procedures will now be assessed, where the council will look for closure and also remediation of the site.”
The quarries which have not reported with the planning authority, as listed on the An Bord Pleanala website, are:
Ballykelly, Monasterevin Michael Byrne (Operator)
Ballymany Dermot Cox and Birkdale Ltd (Operator)
Cromwellstownhill, Kilteel William McDonnell (Operator & landowner)
Killbrook, Enfield John Caldwell (Operator & landowner)
Ballysax Great, The Curragh Patrick and Elizabeth Higgins (Operator & landowner)
Kildoon, Nurney James Merrins (Operator & landowner)
Ballysaxhills, The Curragh Edward Nolan (Operator)
Johnstownbridge, Enfield Edward Miggan (Operator & landowner)
Ballynamullagh, Enfield Edward Mangan (Operator & landowner)
Mylerstown James Raleigh (Operator & landowner)
Cornamucklagh Michael Lavin (Operator & landowner)
Simonstown, Moone Patrick Whelan (Operator & landowner)
Ballycowan, Clonard, Enfield Kilsaran Concrete Ltd (Operator) Niall Mooney (Landowner)
Balrinnet, Clogherinka Kildare Sand and Gravel (Operator & landowner)
Mylerstown, Nurney Nicholas Hyland (Operator & landowner)
Thomastown/Kilmorebrannagh, Carbury PJ Doran (Operator & landowner)