CAMPAIGNERS in West Linton are continuing to oppose a quarry application near the village – and they received support from some unlikely, and historical figures.

In February, Dalgleish Associates – on behalf of Stonepack Limited – made an application to develop a quarry for sand and gravel extraction on land to the west of Slipperfield House.

Members of the South Slipperfield Quarry Action Group told this newspaper that, if approved, the development would be “detrimental” not only on the amenity of the local area, but could also “do damage” to key historical, environmental sites, and the climate as a whole.

The group said: “The landscape, it’s just amazing. If you actually take in the the whole of the A702, there’s no industrial sites.

“It [the quarry] will completely damage the landscape.”

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Some of the key concerns the group has include possible damage to an existing Roman road and possible damage to wildlife in a nearby Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

In response, Willie Booth, on behalf of Dalgleish Associates told the Peeblesshire News: “The proposal will have no physical impact on the Roman road core path.

“There will be visual effects apparent from the Roman road during the proposed operations.

“Progressive restoration will minimise these effects and at final restoration there will be no residual effect on the experience of recreational visitors using the Roman road.

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“Previously unaddressed concerns relating to hydrology, habitats and species have been addressed within the relevant sections of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) to the satisfaction of SEPA and Nature Scot.”

An area of concern for the South Slipperfield Quarry Action Group is an INEOS ethylene pipeline which the development would have to work around.

Regarding these concerns, Mr Booth said: “The pipeline within the application area is subject to a grant of servitude that ensures no works may be undertaken in the vicinity of the pipeline without first being agreed with the pipeline owners, INEOS; this ensures that all works are undertaken safely.

“The proposed development at Slipperfield has been subject to detailed assessment and the proposals are being assessed by independent specialist consultants on behalf of INEOS.

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“All works shall be agreed in advance of commencement and shall be subject to appropriate supervision by INEOS.

“The Wilton to Grangemouth ethylene pipeline is 150 miles long.

“Over this length the pipeline is crossed by major and minor roads at multiple locations.

“There have been various developments that have been undertaken either in proximity to the pipeline or indeed over the pipeline.

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“These works are undertaken following consultation with INEOS and appropriate safe methods of working are agreed and implemented without any safety issues arising.

“As similar safe working is proposed, it is reasonable to assert that the proposal at South Slipperfield is no different from any other development and that it can be undertaken without any significant risk.”

To show their support of the South Slipperfield Quarry Action Group, members of the Antonine Guard – a ‘living history’ reenactment group – visited West Linton on August 21 to campaign against the quarry.

The Roman guards marched through the village to the Roman road which runs adjacent to the proposed development site.

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A spokesperson for the Antonine Guard said: “The Antonine Guard endeavours to maintain a watching brief on Scotland’s Roman Archaeology.

“When we hear about any threat to this, we endeavour to take any action within our means and that includes supporting local communities like West Linton where a proposed gravel extraction plant could potentially damage a Roman road.

“Where such threats appear, we also draw this to the attention of the government minister responsible for protecting Ancient Sites.

“Once developers destroy such archaeology it also means this is lost to all future generations.”

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According to the SBC planning portal, the application for the quarry has received 142 public comments – of this there are 125 objections and 18 comments in support of the plans.

The Quarry Action Group added: “We all live and work together in a very small community.

“Everybody has a part to play in retaining what makes that community so special. There are a number of neighbours of ours who would be affected by the quarry going ahead.

“As well as it being a historical, conservation village, it is a very human issue.”