A quarry will restart operations after the city council secured £250,000 from a company to ensure the site is restored in 2050.
Cemex will reopen the Bonnington Mains quarry near Ratho, after permission lapsed in 2014. Councillors initially delayed a decision until funding to return the site was promised by the company.
The quarry, which is one of five sites across the Capital for mineral extraction, originally won permission on appeal in 1990. At that time, there was more than 7.5 million tonnes of hard rock available to quarry. It is believed around 3.5 million tonnes of material remains – which will be quarried until 2050 and will be used for building projects in Edinburgh.
Councillors insisted that a bond should be secured to ensure the site is not left in an unusable state. Senior planning officer John Maciver labelled the suggestion of a bond as “draconian” and said that it was initially “not considered proportionate”.
Planning Convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, said: “Given that ex-Scottish coal sites are littering Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and I think the government has had to step in, I think we do need to cover ourselves here to ensure that this can be restored when that point comes to pass.”
Conditions were also agreed to protect local residents from the noisy impacts quarrying can impose on communities.
Blasting will only be permitted between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. The company will only be allowed to carry out a maximum of three blasts per week, with an average over any period of 12 months of two blasts per week.
Cllr Gardiner added: “There is an active quarry at Ravelrig which impacts on Balerno when blasts do take place. The noise and vibrations can affect a lot of residential properties.
“It is important that we do work to get this right.”
A study found that the quarry would not impact on the existing levels of vibration impact on the on the occupants of the nearest homes – while the blasting and lorries travelling to and from the site “would not have a detrimental impact” on residents.
Green Cllr Chas Booth said: “I’m delighted that the planning committee has secured a £250,000 bond to cover the cost of restoring this site once quarrying operations have ceased.
“The promise of a restoration plan is of little use if the funds to allow that work haven’t been secured. I’m also glad the committee were able to tighten the conditions on noise and truck movements to minimise the impact on local residents.”
Cemex has four months in order to submit the £250,000 bond.
Stephen Redwood, national reserves development director for Cemex, said: “The reopening of Cemex’s Bonnington Mains quarry will be of benefit to both local communities and wildlife.
“The hard rock quarried will go to local construction projects in Edinburgh and the central belt area to provide homes, roads and other infrastructure projects.”