Controversial plans to reopen a quarry near Leamlara are to be appealed having been given the green light and despite campaigners fears for road safety and increased traffic flow.
Cork County Council Planners decided to approve the reopening of the quarry yesterday, October 2nd, with the condition that €1million would be invested in the road infrastructure.
Sinn Fein Cllr, Danielle Twomey, said the news was “devastating” and raises serious concerns.
She said “the reopening of the gravel quarry poses a risk to the drinking water for up to 20,000 people living in Midleton and Carrigtwohill.”
The Midleton based Cllr said the road infrastructure is unable to sustain quarry traffic, despite a Planning Condition that the company would invest €1million into the roads in the area.
Roadstone, who operate seven Quarries in Cork County, have applied to the Local Authority to reopen the site.
The Company intends to dig 110 feet deep on a 66 acre site above the Leamlara River which feeds into the Owennacurra.
The operation will be carried out over a 20 year period and will see the removal of 300,000 tonnes of sandstone a year.
Both Irish Water and the HSE say they, too, have concerns, one of the most serious being the potential for water contamination.
Irish Water say they have concerns that the proposed development and discharge, under the existing Discharge Licence WP(W)006/09), represents a potential risk to the Owennacurra River, the source water to Midleton and Tibbotstown Water Treatment plants.
The Water Utility, however, say that if the quarry operators put certain measures in place, it should not have an adverse impact on both Treatment Plants.
The Lackenbehy Action Group fear that constant blasting could cause damage to septic tanks in the area leading, ultimately, to contamination of the water supply, and creating dust clouds which will worsen as quarrying continues to blast through the rock.
Group spokesperson, Claire Carroll says they also have concerns that Roadstone intend to quarry below the natural water table.
“They are going under the water table and into the unknown, so when they blast in one area they could dry out of water in another area, so that some wells could dry up and others would flood.”
Ms Carroll claimed Roadstone were using the site as an opportunity to clear it of poor grade stone in a backfilling operation at the Dunkettle interchange.
Roadstone were asked for comment but failed to do so.
Cork County Council say they are unable to comment on a Planning Application until after a period of four weeks has elapsed.
A spokesperson for the Local Authority said it would not be prudent to make a comment while the Planning process is open to Appeal.