Meath County Council yesterday secured an interim court order restricting the hours of operation and volume of material removed from a quarry near Slane.
Trim Circuit Court heard that the blasting, rock crushing, traffic, noise and dust from the quarry at Knockmooney, Slane, have made the lives of nearby residents a "living hell". The motion seeking the order was taken by the council against Patrick Shiels, the owner of the quarry.
Mr Shiels's barrister said more than 60 quarry employees had been put on protective notice.
Thomas Clarke, for the council, argued that the intensification of activity at the quarry, which began last year, was unauthorised and it was seeking an order restraining Mr Shiels from continuing with it.
Mr Clarke said that when Mr Shiels registered the quarry in 2004, he said it operated on an occasional basis and there would be from zero to 20 loads extracted a day, the court heard. However, in early 2006 the council began to receive complaints from residents and it was claimed there are now between 50 and 60 loads moved a day.
The council said the level of activity "is five times the average previously suggested" and the amount of materials extracted "is more than double that suggested". The council sent a warning letter and an enforcement notice last year and then began the legal proceedings.
Mr Clarke said he had a number of affidavits, including one from Robert Newman, who lives 300 metres from the quarry. He said his home changed from an "idyllic rural setting" to being a "living hell". His family could not use their back garden last summer because "of the horrendous noise, dust and emissions".
John Gibbons SC, for Mr Shiels, said it would be submitted that a document attached to the registration form for the quarry referred to up to 200 movements a day or 1,400 a week.
Judge Mary Flaherty said the concerns outlined should be dealt with as speedily as possible by replying affidavits and in the interim she imposed levels on the activities at the quarry based on the registration document.
She said the hours of operation were to be from 8am to 6pm and that traffic should not exceed 15 loads a day.
The matter is expected before the court again next month.
© 2007 The Irish Times
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