Scottish Office Reporter recommends planning approval for Harris superquarry

The Scottish Office Reporter in charge of the proposed superquarry at Lingerbay on the Isle of Harris recommended that planning approval should be granted, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on 11 September.

The quarrying company, Lafarge Redland Aggregates, had requested a judicial review into the decision by the Environment Minister to ask Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) whether Lingerbay should be protected as a special area of conservation, when SNH were already opposed to the planning application.

Scottish media reported that the Inquiry Reporter, Gillian Paine, has concluded that the superquarry would be in the national interest and any harm caused by it would be offset by economic benefits for the Western Isles.

“Market demand for aggregate has plummeted and even the quarry industry itself is projecting that for the next twenty years it will remain at only 50% of the inflated levels Redland was predicting at the inquiry,” said Kevin Dunion, Director of Friends of the Earth, expressing his disappointment at the announcement. “The recent introduction of an aggregates tax is a clear indication that Government wishes to see a reduction in environmentally-destructive primary aggregate extraction (see related story). Furthermore, archaic mineral planning guidance which has resulted in an unsustainable aggregate industry is currently being assessed and will soon be rewritten.”

At the time of publishing, no spokesperson for Lafarge Redland Aggregates was available for comment.

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