Contamination may halt plans

Braidbar Quarry. Any development plans may be stopped by contamination fears.
Braidbar Quarry. Any development plans may be stopped by contamination fears.

A survey by the potential developer of Braidbar Quarry, Advance Construction (Scotland) Ltd shows heavy metal contamination.

The cocktail of chemicals which has lain dormant underground for decades will be disturbed by work on a massive new housing scheme proposed for Giffnock.

Developers report that their surveys confirmed the presence of heavy metal pollutants in water at Braidbar Quarry, which include the toxic substances Nickel, Lead, Cadmium and Zinc.

The source of the poisons can be traced to the use of Braidbar Quarry as an industrial tip during the 20th Century.

Slag waste from steel works was transported from Parkhead Forge in the east end of Glasgow by train to Giffnock and dumped into the vast voids created by stone quarrying.

It is this treatment as an industrial coup that has created some of the main challenges facing anyone wishing to remediate the quarry for development purposes.

Jackson Carlaw MSP commented: “The problems of Braidbar are as long standing as the history of the quarry itself. There have been many and varied proposals to make the area safe and redevelop it.

“All have ultimately failed due to the huge difficulty in accommodating all the competing interests. Ultimately, progress can only be achieved through leadership and consensus and this must come from East Renfrewshire Council working with the community.”

Paul Drury, an independent candidate at next month’s elections, who obtained the information via a Freedom of Information request, says the news confirms the worst fears of local residents, anxious over the can of worms which could be opened up.

Mr Drury, 58, said: “Again, we have only found out about this potential pollution problem due to a Freedom of Information request.

“The developers confirm a whole cocktail of chemicals will need to be treated or removed before any homes can be built there.

“I am also worried about the impact such treatment will have on the area around Huntly Park, which the company wants to use as a Sustainable Drainage System.”

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP MP for East Renfrewshire, said: “This is an extremely worrying position for local residents.

“I have written to the council seeking information on their discussions with potential developers.

“I am extremely concerned at the suggestion council officers provided misleading responses to enquiries made of them and have asked for reassurances that this will not happen again.

“Trust is an extremely valuable commodity for the council, and it should not be frittered away trying to keep matters secret that can be revealed by the simple mechanism of submitting a Freedom of Information request.

“The council must take steps now to re-build its relationship with local residents.”