Plans have been approved to expand a quarry on the border of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Blackhills Quarry at Cove, owned by Leiths, could release 6.36 million tonnes of rock during a period of up to 30 years as a result of the major expansion.
The expansion site, which is partly in Aberdeenshire Council’s land, is less than also half a mile away from a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), designated for its maritime cliff vegetation and its population of Dickie’s bladder fern.
When consulted, Scottish Natural Heritage said the proposal will “not have an adverse effect on the notified features of Cove SSSI”, but confirmed that investigations need to be undertaken to see if badgers or peregrine falcons call the expansion site their home.
At the Kincardine and Mearns area committee yesterday, councillors agreed to the expansion, which comes with specific restrictions.
These include that the ‘blasting’ of rock take place solely during working hours and not on Saturday afternoons, Sundays or public holidays.
Senior planning officer Gregor Spence said: “It hopes to expand 250,000 tonnes of rock per year.
“That’s a lot of rock.
“The expansion site will not return to agricultural land after its use, as it is hard to get land levels up after so much material is extracted.”
Councillor Colin Pike described it as a “strategic and important quarry” and alongside other councillors approved the application.
However, it was noted that it was “surprising” that no representations had been received against the expansion.
A Leiths spokesman had said: “All quarry blasts are designed to ensure that vibration levels fall within the limits specified in our planning permission and within government guidance.”