By AILEEN ROBERTSON, 26 February 2013 - The Courier

Howe of Fife residents say they are awaiting a decision on a local quarry proposal with “some trepidation”.

North East Fife Area Committee will consider Laird Aggregates Limited’s controversial planning application for a sand and gravel quarry and concrete plant, at Kinloch Farm, near Collessie.

The plans have been recommended for conditional approval, despite the 89 objections, in addition to two neutral comments posted on the council’s website. NHS Fife is among the objectors.

In the health board’s objection letter, consultant in public health medicine Dr Jackie Hyland outlined concerns about noise, dust, the quarry’s proximity to houses and the psychological effects of living next to a quarry. She questioned a statement from Laird’s agents Dalgleish Associates, suggesting that residents had objected on the grounds of “perceived” impacts.

fifeShe wrote: “Perceived concerns impact significantly upon psychological wellbeing and we feel it is inappropriate to dismiss such concerns. Attempting to allay perceived concerns is, therefore, vital.”

Giffordtown and District Community Council, whose members believe quarry workings caused flooding, also objected.

Monique Sanders, from the community council, said: “The Howe of Fife is far from being the only area to suffer from excess flooding after an exceptionally wet 2012.

“However, its problems, especially in the Giffordtown and District and Ladybank Community Council constituencies, are compounded by present and past quarry workings.

“This part of the Howe of Fife has a notoriously high water table, defying past attempts to monitor it accurately.

“Now, weather pundits forecast that the very wet, rainy conditions experienced in the last two years are set to continue for at least another 10 years.

“It is, therefore, not surprising that residents in the locality are dismayed at the latest attempt to site a quarry, with ready-mix concrete plant, on already sodden land. The application, lodged by a Forfar company Laird Brothers, is at Kinloch Farm, where land is presently drained by a consortium of local farmers.

“The outcome of the Fife area planning committee meeting tomorrow is awaited with some trepidation, not least because of the effect localised flooding could have on householders’ ability to insure their properties.”

A group of local residents formed Kinloch Quarry Action Group to fight the plans. The action group also raised concerns about flooding in its objection.

Other concerns raised by the group include loss of farmland and woodland, road safety concerns, long-term health effects, potential adverse effects on B-listed buildings and diversion of a right of way.

Objectors also include the Burgh of Ladybank and District Community Council, Freuchie Community Council, the Rossie Ditch Cleaning Group, Scottish Civic Trust and pupils of Letham Primary School, who have signed a petition.

Although it did not lodge an objection, the Scottish Wildlife Trust submitted a general comment calling for more measures to mitigate any potential impacts on wildlife.

Alister Jones, from the Fife and Kinross Scottish Wildlife Trust members centre, said: “It is our view that the impacts on wildlife inherent in this proposal, even if they are deemed to be relatively low, could be made much more benign and positively reversed in the longer term, if the applicants could be prevailed upon to do more to protect the wildlife known to occupy or to visit the site and its environs.”

Should the plans be approved, they would be subject to a list of 45 conditions.

These would include attempts by Laird to establish a quarry liaison committee, written proof that a restoration guarantee fund is available, an environmental management plan, schemes for monitoring noise and dust, a traffic-management plan and implementation of a programme for archaeological work.