SGLH and other campaigners welcome Ministers’ intention to reject quarry application in Buffer Zone of the New Lanark World Heritage Site at the Falls of Clyde   

Campaigners have welcomed Scottish Ministers’ intention to reject Cemex’s application to extend Hyndford quarry into the Buffer Zone of the New Lanark World Heritage Site. The multinational company wished to extract more than 3 million tonnes of sand and gravel from the area immediately adjacent to the world famous Falls of Clyde. In a Letter of Intention to Cemex, the Scottish Government stated:

Scottish Ministers are of the view that the disturbance of at least 8 years before positive restoration in the western extension (largely within the World Heritage Site buffer zone) is unacceptable and is not outweighted by the need for a supply of minerals, which is only marginally short. On that basis, Scottish Ministers consider that development in that part of the scheme should not be approved.

Professor Mark Stephens, Chair of both our umbrella group of objectors and Save Our Landscapes (the local campaign group), is delighted that Ministers intend to uphold the commitment given to protect the area from quarrying when the site was nominated for World Heritage Status. Professor Stephens said:

Crucially the voices of local people and visitors to the Falls of Clyde have been listened to. Sixteen thousand people signed letters to save this landscape. They came from every constituency represented in the Scottish Parliament from Shetland to the Border, and from 35 countries around the world. They demonstrated a remarkable depth and breadth of opposition. This has been a monumental struggle lasting four years. Never again must this vital part of Scotland’s heritage be threatened by an opportunistic planning application to destroy it for short-term commercial gain.

The application was ‘called in’ by the Scottish Government last year, having previously been approved by South Lanarkshire Council. SGLH (as the then GHSS) joined forces with Save Our Landscapes, the New Lanark Trust, the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council and the UK Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites to present a detailed case of objection to the Hearing that took place in August 2014. The Ministers’ intention with regard to the southern extension which lies outside the Buffer Zone, and to which the above parties did not object, is set out in the Scottish Government’s Letter of Intention to Cemex. It says:

Having regard to the fact that Ministers are minded to grant consent for the southern extension only, they propose to refer this case back to DPEA so that the reporters can advise them on what conditions or legal agreements would be appropriate in respect of a permission granted on that basis. The reporters will seek parties’ views on the drafting of appropriate conditions and legal agreements and will decide what further procedure is necessary to consider those issues. Thereafter they will submit a supplementary report to Ministers with recommendations on conditions and legal agreements.

SGLH thinks it is incumbent on the Scottish Government to make it absolutely clear that in future Scotland’s heritage will be robustly protected against such proposals.

Full details are given in the August 2015 edition of The Pleasaunce. For more information now, contact Mark Stephens: Tel. 01555 664 578 / 077 3333 8554.