Needed sand and gravel quarry scuppered by inadequate road network

A new sand and gravel quarry at agricultural land in Aberdeenshire was refused for its risks to road safety, despite being considered to be needed to support mineral reserves.

The proposal involved the extraction of sand and gravel over an 8 to 15-year period from a 15.5-hectare site. The site was accessible from the main A road network but only via a single-track road, which served residential properties and other rural businesses. It was this single-track road that became the sticking point for the reporter. The council had questioned the need for the quarry, but the reporter determined, based on the appellant’s evidence, that there was a need to include the site within the land bank, despite it not previously being identified for sand and gravel extraction.

In terms of its impacts, however, the reporter held the single-track road was not suitable to safely accommodate the lorry movements generated by the quarry in conflict with policy. The appellant had offered 11 new passing places along the road to accommodate traffic, but the reporter felt that, even allowing for the increased height of a lorry cab, the geometry, topography and alignment of the road was such that a car or lorry driver would not always be able to see vehicles which had moved beyond the next passing place. The result would be insufficient warning of oncoming traffic to enable a decision to be made regarding the use of the passing places, with the associated risk that vehicles would need to reverse towards any oncoming traffic on the narrow minor road or revert to using the existing substandard passing places. 

In conclusion, the reporter was not satisfied that the economic benefits arising from the provision of this additional reserve outweighed the risks to road safety, and the associated impacts on the local community, especially over such a prolonged period. 

Reporter: Elspeth Cook; Written representations

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