Donegal County Council has won an injunction to stop an illegal quarry operation at Mountain Top Letterkenny.
The injunction was granted by the High Court against P Bonar Plant Hire Ltd T/A Bonar’s Quarry in relation to work at a quarry situated at Calhame, Letterkenny.
The court heard that Bonar’s Quarry was carrying out quarrying works without planning permission at Calhame as they awaited planning permission for a new quarry in Raphoe.
Irish Legal News reports that Bonar’s Quarry was refused planning permission for the continuation of quarrying activities at the site in April 2019. Planning permission was granted to the previous quarry operator, Mountain Top Quarry Ltd, in 2008 and it had expired on 9th June 2018. Bonar’s Quarry ceased works at the quarry as of that date.
In April 2019, An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for the continuation of quarrying activities because it was not satisfied that the development would not adversely affect the integrity of the Leannan River SAC located 3.5 km away. Further, it found the Environmental Impact Assessment Report submitted inadequate.
While there was no quarrying for an initial period, quarrying operations recommenced on the site in April 2019. Members of the public complained to Donegal County Council.
In June 2019, an Enforcement Notice was issued to Bonar’s Quarry requiring the cessation of quarrying within six weeks, which was not complied with. District Court summonses issued in February 2020 in respect of the alleged offence of non-compliance with the enforcement notice, which was adjourned due to the pandemic.
Bonar’s Quarry’s “clearly stated intention” as expressed by Mr Boner was to continue operating the quarry so as to fulfil its contractual commitments until it was in a position to commence operations at a new quarry in September 2020.
Patrick Joseph Bonar, a director of Bonar’s Quarry, accepted that An Bord Pleanála refused permission for the carrying out of quarrying works at the site. He alleged that the permission which had been obtained in 2008 and which had lasted until June 2018, was effectively only in respect of an additional area to the original quarry, which he referred to as the “extended area”. He said that Bonar’s Quarry continued to quarry the rest of the site, which he alleged had been used as a quarry prior to 1 October 1964, and that the operation of the quarry had not intensified to such an extent as to amount to a material change in use that would require planning permission.
Mr Justice Anthony Barr granted an interlocutory injunctive relief against Bonar’s Quarry and concluded:
“The respondent, through Mr Bonar, has articulated a clear intention to flout the planning laws and the environmental provisions contained therein, until it can carry on its commercial activities at another location.”