THOSE battling plans to expand the Hyndford Quarry into the scenic New Lanark heritage area heard some electrifying news this week.
More than a year after the Save Our Landscapes pressure group launched its campaign against the scheme by quarrying firm Cemex and just a month or so before a council ruling on the issue, a very influential potential ally has appeared – ScottishPower.
In a last-minute move, the power company has written to South Lanarkshire Council complaining that Cemex failed to consult it properly on its plans to expand.
With its hydro-electric power station on the very edge of the proposed quarrying site and with a lot of electrical supply cabling going through the area, ScottishPower has a great interest in any local developments.
This was obviously recognised by Cemex when it first proposed its scheme and ScottishPower, in a letter to South Lanarkshire Council seen by the Gazette, said that the quarry company did have initial talks about the proposed extension.
However, Cemex then apparently FORGOT to tell the power company that it had lodged a full planning permission application.
In the letter to the council, dated September 17, a solicitor acting for ScottishPower said: “It has come to my client’s attention that a planning application has been submitted which includes land through which pipelines and tunnels associated with Bonnington Hydro Electric Power Station are located.
“Despite engaging with Cemex at the time of the pre-planning application consultation, my client did not receive any notification of the submission of the application in 2012.
“My client therefore remains uncertain as to what impact the proposals may have on its operations.”
He said that Scottish Power realised that a council decision on the application was now expected in November or December and it contacted Cemex for the full information urgently but, at the time of writing the letter, still had to receive a reply.
The solicitor said that ScottishPower was now quickly putting together a submission which it would make to the council before the planning application was considered.
As for the Save Our Landscapes campaigners, while pessimistic that the last-minute ScottishPower intervention would be a ‘deal breaker’, their spokesman said that it was, at least, an illustration of Cemex’s general attitude to those impacted by its plans.