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". The first project was by Redland Aggregates, in 1991 the company applied for planning permission and an investment of 71 million pounds sterling. A referendum of Harris residents supported the quarry in 1993, but in a second referendum in 1995 a majority (68% with an 83% turnout) opposed the quarry. In 1997 the multi-national French company Lafarge took over Redlands Aggregates, its purpose was to export the aggregates outside of Scotland.  After a series of enquiries, changes of the Environment Minister, court appeals, Lafarge gave up in 2004. Saving the beautiful mountain of Roineabhal, a "sacred" mountain to some, was part of the motivation. The NGO umbrella organisation, the Link Quarry Group, included Friends of the Earth Scotland, Ramblers Scotland, RSPB, WWF Scotland, Rural Scotland, Sustrans, NEMT and the Scottish Wildlife Trust
Basic Data
NameHarris superquarry, Scotland, UK
CountryUnited Kingdom
ProvinceHarris, Outer Hebrides
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 CommoditiesStones
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.
See more...
Project Area (in hectares)600
Level of Investment (in USD)120,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1988
End Date04/2004
Company Names or State EnterprisesLafarge from France
Relevant government actorsScottish government

Scottish Ministry of Environment

Court of Session
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFriends of the Earth Scotland

LINK Quarry Group

Ramblers Scotland

WWF Scotland
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation 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-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Lafarge withdrew in 2004, after losing a court case, and having faced opposition for almost ten years.
Sources and Materials

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


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]

Media Links

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]

Other Documents

A montage of what might happen
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update15/10/2016