Congratulations to CRAG campaigners - Gazette
THE WHOLE of rural Clydesdale seemed to be celebrating this week as it toasted a rare victory against the quarrying industry.
Just as last week's Gazette went to press, South Lanarkshire Council refused planning permission for 3.2 million tonnes of gravel to be excavated from Overburns near Coulter, in the very heart of the scenic Upperward hills.
As in an earlier bid to develop the site, the application from quarrying company Patersons was rejected by South Lanarkshire Council as being too damaging to the local environment for the economic benefits it would bring.
As if the unanimous vote by the planning committee to refuse permission wasn't good enough, the campaigners of the Clyde River Action Group (CRAG) heard plaudits from councillors for the way in which they had pressed their case.
Local politicians added their congratulations this week.
The area's Conservative MP David Mundell described the decision as "fantastic".
"Many people would have given up when the second application was submitted and I'm sure that is what Patersons thought," he said.
"The collective efforts of a community strongly opposed to the quarry have been a great example of not only how to run a campaign, but also how to sustain one. Let us hope that this hard-fought for victory by CRAG is now the last we hear from the company."
The area's Nationalist MSP, Aileen Campbell, said: "I am pleased South Lanarkshire Council have listened to local opinion.
"Throughout I have made my objections clear and liaised closely with CRAG and the community to ensure that my constituents were heard during this lengthy process.
"The arguments they made were clear from the outset - the potential environmental impact of the proposed development outweighed any economic benefits associated with it."
Labour List MSP Claudia Beamish said: delighted by this decision and credit must go to CRAG for a well co-ordinated local campaign. " I am pleased to have supported the campaign along with others.
"Much work has gone into restoring the Clyde to its current state and that work must not be jeopardised."
And Jim Hume, Scottish Liberal Democrat List MSP, commented: "The proposed application had been hugely unpopular with the local communities from day one and CRAG members have campaigned tirelessly against it.
" The second application has now quite rightly been unanimously thrown out by the Council. "I welcome this decision which must serve as a strong message to the developers."
By Ron Harris
Carluke and Lanark Gazette