Donegal County Council is considering an application for a new quarry to be opened near the village of Gleneely.
An application in the name of James Carey, Baskill, Gleneely, was submitted to the council’s planning department last month and is due for decision by the middle of February.
Mr Carey is seeking permission to open a quarry to produce crushed stone and manufacture concrete for use, the application says, by local farmers, builders and the community.
The development, on a 2.6 hectare site just off the main Gleneely-Carndonagh road, is described as ‘loose stone facility’ where stone will be excavated rather than blasted.
The stone will be graded, crushed and piled on site for collection or delivery by lorries.
Permission is also sought for a batching plant to manufacture concrete, featuring two tall silos and conveyor belt fed by five 30 ton hoppers that will supply the different aggregates.
A mobile stone breaker and weighbridge will also be
installed on the site, while an existing house is to be converted into a reception area and general office, as well as providing a canteen and toilet facilities for staff and the public.
Two existing sheds will be used to store equipment and cleaning chemicals, with a wheel wash located at the site entrance.
Located in the townland of Baskill, the proposed quarry site is close to the North Inishowen Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Magheradrumman Bog SAC.
A detailed Natura Impact Statement commissioned by Mr Carey found that the quarry would have “no likely or significant impact” on the SACs if an extensive series of mitigating measures are implemented both during construction and once it becomes operational.
The Natura Impact Statement (NIS) warns that potential impacts on the habitats of protected species in the SACs could arise through pollution from surface water run-off during site preparation and construction, or during the operation of the quarry.
The NIS recommends mitigation measures including a silt fence along the quarry boundary and ensuring all run off is directed to a storage container.
Construction works must be avoided during prolonged periods of heavy rainfall, the NIS states, while plant and wheel washing must take place well away from watercourses and surface drains.
Refuelling of machinery must be undertaken on a designated area of impenetrable surface at least 50m from streams or drains, with clean up kits on site in case of accidental spillage.
Oil, fuel, chemicals and other hazardous materials must be stored in a bunded storage area.
During operation, ‘clean’ surface and storm water drainage must be piped into a gully system that incorporates a sediment trap and hydrocarbon (oil) interceptor.
Normal exterior lighting must be at a low level so as not to disturb wintering wildfowl which may nest near the quarry.
Donegal County Council is due to make a decision on the application by 14 February.