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Harris superquarry, Scotland, UK

In April 2004 the Lafarge company abandoned its plans for a very large stone quarry at Lingerbay in Harris, Scotland, after a twelve year social and legal battle. A great triumph for environmentalists such as Friends of the Earth Scotland.


In April 2004 the Lafarge company  abandoned its plans for a very large quarry at Lingerbay in Harris. Ever since the plan for the 600 hectare quarry was rejected in 2000 by the Scottish government, Lafarge engaged in a series of unsucessful legal challenges. Resistance was led by FoE Scotland and the LINK quarry group, and by local inhabitants such as crofter  Normal Macleod. According to him, "they would have blasted all that rock and put in in ships ... the maximum amount of jobs would be around 20 while 100 would be lost in fishing and fish-farming".

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Harris superquarry, Scotland, UK
Country:United Kingdom
State or province:Harris, Outer Hebrides
Location of conflict:Lingerbay
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Stones
Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

600 hectares, and approximately 71 million pounds sterling of investment to start with (equivalent to about USD 120 million), 10 million tons of output per year.

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Project area:600
Level of Investment:120,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1988
End of the conflict:04/2004
Company names or state enterprises:Lafarge from France
Relevant government actors:Scottish government
Scottish Ministry of Environment
Court of Session
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Friends of the Earth Scotland
LINK Quarry Group
Ramblers Scotland
WWF Scotland
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Use of Gaelic language and names of places in public audiences
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Lafarge withdrew in 2004, after losing a court case, and having faced opposition for almost ten years.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Friends of the Earth Scotland, What on Earth, Spring 2014

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Superquarry Briefing. Lafarge Aggregates Ltd (ex Redland Aggregates). Isle of Harris Superquarry Briefing.

This page was originally created when I was one amongst many individuals and organisations who successfully fought against the proposed Isle of Harris superquarry (Alastair Macintosh).
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

LINK. The Battle for Roineabhal. Reflections on the successful campaign to prevent a superquarry at Lingerabay, Isle of Harris, and lessons for the Scottish planning system. 144 page report. 2006.
[click to view]

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Last update15/10/2016
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