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Clydesdale MSP comment

Campbell Comments on Latest Overburns Developments

Aileen Campbell, SNP MSP for South of Scotland, has commented on statements released by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Government regarding the proposed sand and gravel quarry at Overburns Farm, near Lamington. Aileen has also spoken out in Parliament against the proposals, during a debate on rural housing.

In a letter to South Lanarkshire Council seen by Aileen Campbell, SEPA have formally objected to the proposals by Paterson’s Quarries Ltd on the grounds that insufficient information has been provided to the agency.

Aileen has also received a response from the Scottish Government after sending a copy of the results of her local residents’ survey, which showed massive opposition to the plans, to Environment Minister Roseanna Cunninghame and Infrastructure Minister Stewart Stevenson. In reply, Stewart Stevenson told Aileen that the Government does not want to raise expectations that the planning application will come before Ministers for decision.

In his letter to Aileen Campbell, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Stewart Stevenson said:

“Responsibility for dealing with planning applications and local planning matters rests, in the first instance, with the planning authority…Planning authorities are not bound to accept objectors’ views but they should respond to comments and objections received to explain what decisions have been taken and why and they should be able to demonstrate clearly how and when the opinions of interested parties were sought…

“There are, however, certain categories of application…which require to be notified to Scottish Ministers where a Council is minded to grant consent but it is for the Council to determine whether notification is appropriate. Notification allows the Scottish Ministers the opportunity to consider whether the issues involved merit calling in the application for their own determination or if the Council can be left to deal with the matter as it sees fit.

“I would not, however, wish to raise any expectation that this particular application will come before Scottish Ministers.”

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament debate on a report from the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee on rural housing, Aileen Campbell MSP said [1]:

“I was interested to read that the committee believes that there is something of an inherent conservatism, and often a presumption against development on the part of rural planning authorities. That might come as a surprise to residents of Douglas in South Lanarkshire, who face the development of a new opencast quarry in their area, and to the residents of Biggar, Lamington and the surrounding area, who are trying to stop plans for a sand-and-gravel quarry at Overburns farm on the banks of the Clyde.

“There is scepticism about the number of jobs that such developments will generate, and there is genuine concern about the impact not just on the environment and the landscape, but on health, the roads and other infrastructure in the area. If too many such developments put people off the idea of moving to the countryside, or make rural areas less attractive places to live, then all the good work that is being done to improve housing supply will come to very little.”

Speaking outside the Scottish Parliament Chamber, Aileen Campbell MSP said:

“These recent developments, especially the objection by SEPA, should give local residents hope that South Lanarkshire Council will see sense when it comes to make a decision on the Overburns application.

“SEPA are clearly not impressed by the information provided by Paterson’s about the environmental impact of the proposal.

“It’s also clear from the Scottish Government’s response to my survey that the responsibility for deciding on the proposal will lie squarely with the Council, and that it would be wise of them to listen to the objections raised in my survey and in the huge number of individual objections it has received.

“The Council ran roughshod over local opinion in granting permission to the Mainshill development. As I made clear in my speech in parliament, it must not be allowed to get away with that again at Overburns.”

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