Roadstone applies for approval to expand existing Tullamore pit

Roadstone has lodged a planning application with Offaly County Council for an extension to its existing sand and gravel pit at Ballykilmurry, on the outskirts of Tullamore, which would see limestone excavation and blasting being carried out at the facility for the first time.

The company, which is Ireland's leading supplier of aggregates, construction and road building materials, is seeking to extend its existing pit to extract sand and gravel over an area of 23.4 hectares and limestone over an area of 14 hectares.

It is also seeking permission for the use of industry standard blasting techniques for limestone fragmentation; for the use of a mobile processing plan (crushing and screening) located within the extension area and a number of other works on the site, including perimeter screening berms, landscaping and final restoration of the extraction area and all related ancillary works.

According to planning documents lodged with the local authority, Roadstone plans to limit blasting activities to between 11am and 15.30pm Monday to Friday, and will notify all residential property owners within 500m of the limestone extraction before each blast is undertaken by way of sounding an alarm for a minimum period of one minute.

An 'all clear' signal will be given by means of a siren once blasting has been completed.

Roadstone plans to employ a dedicated blasting team to ensure that market-leading technologies and procedures are used to control blasting operations, and they also intend to monitor ground borne vibration and air over pressure emissions at the nearest sensitive locations to the proposed development site.

An Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) prepared for Roadstone Ltd., by SLR Consulting Ireland states that the rate of extraction will “depend on market demand” but that a maximum annual extraction rate of 500,000 tonnes per year is being sought to provide the applicant with “the ability to respond to demand for aggregates for building and infrastructure projects in the region” and, for that reason, a planning permission of 18 years is being sought for the proposed development, along with a further two years to complete final restoration of the overall site.

The reserves of sand and gravel and limestone within the proposed extension are estimated at 0.75 million tonnes and ).8 million tonnes, respectively.

It is envisaged that the proposed development will provide employment for approximately six direct and ten indirect employees at the Ballykilmurry site.

Offaly County Council is due to make a decision on the planning application by February 24 next.