Plans to expand the operation of a quarry at Ardgaineen, Claregalway have been rejected by the county council after massive public opposition.
Harrington Concrete & Quarry sought a 25 year planning permission to extract rock from the 4.35 hectare site down to a dept of 5m using using explosives.
The extracted material would be transported to a nearby crushing and screening plant.
An Environmental Impact Assessment report prepared by the developer was submitted with this application which said that project could have no effect on Lough Corrib, the largest nearby body of water that could be at risk of pollution.
The application by Harrington stated that landscaping and restoration works would be carried out on the site and for all associated facilities.
In total the county council received almost 80 submissions about this project, the vast majority of which were opposed to any expansion of the quarry.
Residents were concerned about health and safety issues arising from the dust produced by the quarry, as well as the traffic hazard posed to children walking to school in the area.
One objection by a resident of Kilchill, Claregalway says that the added dust pollution from the quarry would be a health hazard to her son who is receiving treatment for leukemia.
The Corradrum District and Residents Association contended that the quarry is an unauthorised development and that current extraction activities there have been happening without proper planning permission.
They organised a public meeting in September to discuss the plans which was attended by roughly 50 people from the area, as well as local councillors Mary Hoade, Peter Roche, and James Charity.
According to Association the prevailing mood at the meeting was that “The local community in attendance would like to stop all further development at Harrington’s quarry.”
“It’s time for the intrusion to stop so that we can have our community back to live in peace and safety.”
Local residents also expressed deep fears that the blasting from the quarry is already causing structural damage to nearby homes, which this development would only make worse.
On October 8 of last year the county council made a request for further information from the developer which was answered on April 16.
The council said that a Road Safety Audit must be carried out and that the developer must provide more information about the potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures.
The Corradrum District and Residents Association said that their objections to the project are “fundamental to the nature and location of the development” and could not be resolved by amendments or further information.
In rejecting permission the count council said that the local roads infrastructure couldn’t handle a development of this scale.
The council also said that it is “not satisfied based on submissions received that the proposed development would not endanger the health and safety of persons occupying or adjoining the site”.
A lack of information on the threat this project could pose to the local Peregrine Falcon and identified sites of archaeological interest were also cited in the rejection.