Questions raised over the suitability of ‘partner’ for Braidbar Quarry development

Giffnock residents have raised concerns at community council meeting about the potential development of the quarry site.
Giffnock residents have raised concerns at community council meeting about the potential development of the quarry site.

The company developing Braidbar Quarry was threatened with prosecution over a second illegal dumping case, Giffnock Community Council was told this week.

Six years ago, Advance Construction Scotland Ltd was issued with a ‘final warning’by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Officers had found “illegal discharges” of silt coming from a site at Cherryhill in Larkhall.

SEPA raised the prospect of a referral to the procurator fiscal, but the matter was resolved without further action. This was in addition to the other ‘final warning’ letter issued to the company the same year after toxic waste was dumped at a site in Branchal, Wishaw.

The disclosure was made by resident Paul Drury, who is opposing the choice of Advance as a development partner with East Renfrewshire Council. At a controversial meeting on October 31, the local authority agreed to work towards a ‘joint venture’ with the company, who produced plans for a 400-house development on the site.

Up to the middle of the 20th century, the quarry was used as a dump for poisonous industrial material, including Nickel, Cadmium, Zinc and Lead.

The disclosure that SEPA had issued a second ‘final warning’ came at a meeting on Monday night, when residents made three Giffnock councillors aware of their concerns.

Giffnock Community Council chairman Douglas Lawson said it was “very disappointing” that the council had chosen to work with a company which had received a number of warnings from SEPA.

He said: “We’re aware of concerns, so we recognise this is an important issue. Do we need to have a public meeting to determine the mood of the area? All interested parties could work together.”

Provost Jim Fletcher, a Giffnock councillor who voted to support the Advance scheme, said he was “unable to comment on the specifics of it” as it may “result in a planning application”.

He was asked why the council was only talking to one company and Provost Fletcher replied it was the only one which had recently made an approach to the council.

No-one from Advance Construction attended the meeting but the firm was later asked if it was a suitable partner for the council.

Tom Dignall, finance director, said: “Absolutely. We are running 250-plus sites. There is not a company out there which does not have a breach. It is not that we are a bad company. We are turning over £200 million a year.”

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “The paper which was approved at the full council meeting on October 31 is the very early stages of a potential formal agreement with Advance.

“Whilst the council is aware of previous historical matters in relation to this company, there is nothing which would preclude us from entering into initial negotiations. Any due diligence will be carried out at the appropriate stage and reported back to council.”