First Minister could step in over Cemex Quarry

Campaign continues...Professor Mark Stephens at quarry site
Campaign continues...Professor Mark Stephens at quarry site

First Minister Alex Salmond could see the task of ending the row over Lanark’s Cemex Quarry handed to him as early as next week.

The Gazette understands that the Scottish Government is poised to step into the long-running row over the plan to quarry 10 million tonnes of sand and gravel from the scenic, historic countryside between Lanark and New Lanark.

Despite huge public opposition – with 10,300 letters of objection – the scheme was granted planning permission by South Lanarkshire Council last month.

Since then anti-quarry campaigners have been pinning their hopes on a last-minute rescue from Edinburgh.

The Scottish Goverment has the power to call in from councils what it deems to be planning applications of national importance.

It could then decide to call a Public Inquiry into the issue which could result in the council decision being overturned.

The Gazette has been told by informed sources that the Scottish Government could announce late next week that it is, indeed, to take over the highly-charged issue and make the final decision on the quarry.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Lanark Gazette which is in the shops now.