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SCREENING OPINION THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS 1999 SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT CIRCULAR 8/2007

RESPONSE OF SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL TO A REQUEST SUBMITTED UNDER REGULATION 5 OF THE EIA REGULATIONS (1999) BY BLB DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED FOR A SCREENING OPINION FROM THE COUNCIL AS PLANNING AUTHORITY IN RESPECT OF A PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AT GLENAPP ESTATE, NEAR BALLANTRAE Introduction Luce Bay plant Hire Limited are seeking to develop approximately 3 hectares of land located on the Glenapp Estate, south of Ballantrae for a hard rock quarry and access road to the site. Their agent, BLB Developments Limited, has requested from the council a formal Screening Opinion to determine whether an environmental impact assessment is required for the development proposal. Background It is understood that the applicant has engaged in pre-application consultation with the council in which a Screening Opinion was discussed. It has been considered that the proposed development falls within Schedule 2 of the Regulations noted above and as follows;

2. Extractive industry (a) Quarries, open-cast mining and peat extraction (unless included in schedule 1).
Site Description The site for which the Screening Opinion has been requested is located within a rural setting, some 4 miles south of Ballantrae. The site is surrounded by the Aughtshillin Wood in the Glenapp estate, containing an existing quarry within the site and a gravel quarry nearby. The proposal would utilise the existing A77 and current access road located approximately 1/3 km north of the proposal site to provide access to the quarry. The site is lies on the eastern slope at the foot of the Carlock Hill (323m). The proposed development borders the Glenapp and Galloway Mores Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Scenic Protection Area (SPA) to the west. The area has been designated as such by SNH for reasons of flora, fauna (Hen Harrier as listed in Annex 1 of the EC Birds Directive) and geological or physiographical features.

Furthermore, the proposed access route is in fact within the SSSI and SPA. Furthermore, the site is within the Ancient Woodland Inventory and is a designated Scenic Area under ENV 8 of the South Ayrshire local Plan (SALP). At the summit of the fore mentioned Carlock Hill lays an Archaeology Conservation Trigger, identified as the Carlock Cairn (remains of).

Selection Criteria for Assessment to inform Screening Opinion The proposal falls into category 2 (Extractive Industry) of Schedule 2 of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999. The EIA regulations state that only Schedule 2 developments which are likely to have a significant environmental impact are to be subject to EIA. Therefore, this assessment which is informing the screening opinion is examining whether the proposal provided by BLB Developments Limited is likely to have any significant environmental effects. In accordance with Schedule 3 of the act the following selection criteria will be used to inform the Screening Opinion. Characteristics of Development: a) b) c) d) e) f) The size of the development; The cumulation with other development; The use of natural resources; The production of waste; Pollution and nuisance; The risk of accidents, having regard in particular to substances or technologies used

Location of Development: a) The existing land use; b) The relative abundance, quality and regenerative capacity of natural resources in the area; c) The absorbing capacity of the natural environment, paying particular attention to the following areas:i. ii. iii. iv. v. wetlands; coastal zones; mountain and forest areas; nature reserves and parks; areas classified or protected under Member states legislation; areas designated by Member States pursuant to Council Directive 79/409/EEC

vi. vii. viii.

on the conservation of wild birds and Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora; areas in which the environmental quality standards laid down in community legislation have already been exceeded; densely populated areas; Landscapes of historical, cultural or archaeological significance.

Characteristics of the Potential Impact: Consideration of the potential significant effects of the development in relation to the foregoing criteria and having particular regard to:a) The extent of the impact (geographical areas and size of the affected population); b) The transfrontier nature of the impact; c) The magnitude and complexity of the impact; d) The probability of the impact; and e) The duration, frequency and reversibility of the impact Assessment: Characteristics of Development Annex B of Circular 8/2007 sets out a checklist which can be used to inform the Screening opinion. This Annex has been adopted to ensure a level of consistency is maintained throughout the process. The fore mentioned checklist relates to Schedule 3 of the EIA regulations noted above. a) The proposed development is estimated to encompass 3 hectares of land. Additionally the proposal plans to create a new access route extending for 1/3 of a kilometre, connecting to an existing road. Due to the scale of the local rurality and forested nature of the surrounding area, it is perceived that the 3 hectares required for the quarry will not be out of scale with the existing environment, while the forested area is likely to provide cover for the quarry and reduce any adverse visual impact on the local area. b) The proposed hard rock quarry is in close proximity to a disused gravel quarry to the northwest and Carlock House to the East, on the opposite side of the A77, of which is unlikely to endure any significant environmental impact. More information was sought regarding the cumulation to the existing quarry site to determine whether the proposal is to extend the existing quarry site, as this would require an assessment of the cumulative environmental impact as identified in paragraph 46 of The Regulations. However, with consideration to the aforementioned information it was deemed that the location of the existing quarry would be included within a formal EIA of the site. c) The extraction of hard rock means that natural resources will be used as a matter of course. However, hard rock is not considered to be in short supply and therefore not predicted to cause any significant damage.

d) Waste production is not considered to be of environmental concern as it is not within the developers economic interest to accumulate waste while the site is operational. e) Noise pollution from the development is likely to be of particular nuisance due to blasting operations. Although the impact on public amenity is likely to be limited due to the distance from any settlement, fauna protected under the local SSSI and SPA may be adversely affected, while dust from the site could have a similar impact. Equipment and machinery associated with quarrying is also likely to be considerably noisy. It must also be noted that as the site lies in the catchment area of the Water of App, surface run-off will deposit surface debris (machinery oil, dust, loose rock) into this water course. f) The very nature of blasting presents a high risk of accident. Dust is also extremely harmful to the human health of those working on site.

Assessment: Location of Development a) As previously mentioned the proposal site lies within a rural setting located 4 miles from Ballantrae. The site is located within an existing quarry and expands to the surrounding forested area. b) No scarce resources have been identified in the area. However, the inclusion of the forested site in which the proposal is located in the Ancient Woodland Inventory suggests that the wood is of high quality. c) The site itself is located within the Ancient Woodland Inventory and a protected Scenic Area under policy ENV 8 of the South Ayrshire Local Plan. It is likely that some trees will require to be cleared as part of the proposal. The site is also on the fringe of the Glenapp and Galloway Moors SSSI and EU designated SPA, while part of the proposal is to locate a road within the designated protection site/area. Due to the nature and location of the proposal it is considered that the proximity to the SSSI and EU SPA and the importance of them in a local, national and European context are likely to be negatively impacted by the proposal. A variety of endangered flora and fauna have been identified by SNH for their unique properties within these designated protection zones. In March 2007 a Desk based archaeological assessment and walk over survey was conducted on the North East corner of the site. This was a 34 hectare study within and to the north of the site for which a Screening Opinion was requested. 10 archaeologically significant sites were identified. Moreover, the Carlock Cairn at the summit of the Carlock Hill has been identified as an Archaeology Conservation Trigger, suggesting further evidence of archaeological significance in the area. Therefore, the council refer to SALP Policy BE 6 stating

Policy BE6: The council will seek to protect scheduled ancient monuments (including their setting) and archaeological sites and encourage sympathetic proposals for their promotion for educational or recreational purposes.

Assessment: Characteristics of Potential Impacts a) Although the development proposal is contained within a 3 hectare site. It is likely that the extent of the development will spread out with the proposal site. Noise pollution from blasting and machinery is considered to emanate out with the site and into a reasonable proportion of the surrounding area, including the SSSI and SPA, impacting upon the protected local biodiversity. Furthermore, it is envisaged that surface debris may be transported into the nearby watercourse due to the sloped nature of the proposal site, effecting marine biodiversity. It is deemed unlikely that the environmental impacts of a hard rock quarry would impact on human health. b) The envisaged negative impact on the local biodiversity is expected to last continuously throughout the life of the development. Within time it is likely that the harm done to local flora and fauna will be recovered.

Conclusion From the assessment taken in accordance with the regulations and Circular 8/2007 the council concludes that the proposed development of a Hard Rock Quarry on an estimated 3 hectares of land on the Glenapp Estate is likely to require a formal environmental impact assessment. From the information submitted on behalf of Luce Bay plant Hire the environmental impacts as a result of the development are likely to be significant in the proposed location for the following sets of reasons. Firstly, much of the protected land immediately to the west of the site is environmentally significant under the Glenapp and Galloway Moors SSSI and EU designated SPA. Furthermore, the proposed access to the site is contained within the fore mentioned designated sites. It is likely that the quarry and access road would upset the character of the SSSI and SPA, especially due to noise and dust. Secondly, the proposal is located within a designated Scenic Area identified within the SALP, having the potential to upset the character of this.

Thirdly, the proposal site is located within the Ancient Woodland Inventory, which may contain habitats for biodiversity since the 16th Century. This may be upset by blasting, while it is considered that a vast amount of these trees would need to be cut to accommodate a 3 hectare quarry. Fourthly, debris generated from quarry works is envisaged to enter the Water of App, due to the sloping nature of the proposed development site. Rubble and dust may choke the water course, effecting marine organisms. Finally, it is expected that the site holds a degree of archaeological significance and will require an archaeological survey to realise the archaeological significance of the site. Although the council recognise that the development proposal does not meet the 15 hectare size or 30 000 tonnes of extraction, the sensitive location of the site is the main consideration.