A BORDERS quarry will be extended after plans were approved by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) members.

The extension of Edston Quarry, near Peebles, was discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning and building standards committee on Monday (August 2).

The current hard rock quarry – which produces greywacke and claystone for road surfacing and the construction industry – has “approximate reserves for only one more year of extraction”.

However, the extension will allow a further 21 years of extraction plus a further year for completion of restoration, yielding 2.2 million tonnes of hard rock.

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During the meeting, Mid Berwickshire councillor Donald Moffat, of the SNP, described the plans as “first class”.

“We need raw materials and I think this plan works,” said Mr Moffat.

“It’s as good as I’ve seen in all the years I’ve been in planning since 1989.”

The current extraction area will be expanded from 5.1 hectares to 9.1 hectares across six phases of work, according to SBC papers.

The northern area of the quarry – operated by Tillicoultry Quarries – will be excavated in four phases with the works “generally being screened by a southern spur on the hillside”.

This spur will then be removed in the final two phases.

SBC papers state: “There will be progressive restoration of each phase to ensure that impacts are minimised once the final phases of the quarry are reached and the southern spur is removed.”

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At the meeting, Mr Moffat added: “I think what we’re going to end up with is actually better than what is there at the moment.

“It’s a win-win.

“We’re going to get the product to do stuff but we’re going to end up with a better visual impact in the long-term. This planned restoration has been well thought out.”

The extension will require the felling of 3 hectares of trees, according to council papers.

To compensate, 0.24 hectares of woodland will be relocated, while 0.7 hectares of newly-planted trees will link in with the woodland north and west of the extension.

Concerns were raised by East Berwickshire councillor Jim Fullarton, of the Conservatives, about the lack of responses from “key consultees” such as Peebles Community Council, Scotways and RSPB.

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SBC principal planning officer Craig Miller said they were consulted nearly six months ago.

“We have to take it that they didn’t have any comments,” he said.

According to council papers, the site has been quarried since at least the 1850s.

The site lies within the designated Upper Tweeddale National Scenic Area.

Mr Miller said: “We do realise that such quarries like Edston would not normally be accepted in a National Scenic Area if it was from day one and if it was a new quarry but the SESplan encourages extensions to existing quarries to keep the level of resource flowing.”