Sunday, July 01, 2007
Quarrying in East Meath
The whole issue of quarry permissions was meant to be addressed a few years back by the government. However, it would appear that a few loophopes may exist that need tightening. Also, there are real problems with enforcing conditions. For example, if the operation of a quarry has been curtailed to certain hours (e.g. not before 7am and not after 6pm) then how is this actually enforced? From my experience around East Meath it would appear that it's entirely a matter of self-enforcement. So, if a quarry owner decides to open earlier then what happens? I've passed on numerous allegations of early-opening by other quarries around Meath to the enforcement section of the County Council, who claim they are unable to do much because they don't have the resources to validate any complaints about breaches of conditions.
Quarries are essential for the construction industry and it's also more effective to source the building material closest to where it's needed, so I accept that there are strong arguements for the need to have quarries within the north Leinster area. As well as that, most quarries probably do comply with the conditions imposed on them. However, it's the rogue operators who are causing problems for all of us.
My view is that the law needs to be be revised. I'd also say that there's a strong case to be made for additional funding to be given to local authorities from the government to enable effective monitoring of quarries and enforcement of operating conditions.
Meanwhile, the residents of Bellewstown are now going through the same heartache and frustration that has happened elsewhere in County Meath over the last few years.
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