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
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 Details600 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.

Quoting from LINK. The Battle for Roineabhal (2006). "With a golden eagle circling overhead and purple heather bringing out echoing colours in the scree, Lingerabay seems an unlikely spot

for a gargantuan industrial development. Yet, the landscape bears the scars, still shockingly white even after decades, of minor quarry workings – evidence of several aborted attempts to make extracting the anorthosite that forms Roineabhal a commercially viable operation. Anorthosite is a hard aggregate, useful for road-building, concrete-making and perhaps sea defences, and there is enough of it at Lingerabay to have inspired in one

man, a quarry developer..., followed later by a major company, then

in a whole community, the sort of dreams normally associated with gold, oil or diamonds. The idea was for one of the world’s largest opencast quarries, working for sixty to a hundred years to extract a billion tonnes of rock, which, it was said, would be the salvation of this tiny depopulated community with its rife unemployment.

According to this view, the superquarry idea would also offer the way forward for a quarrying industry increasingly beleaguered by ‘nimbyism’ south of the border, and for a country that faced becoming a net importer of aggregate if present levels of

extraction and use continued. According to this vision, Lingerabay would become part of a network of perhaps five remote coastal superquarries, transporting their wares to the south of England in vast bulk carriers".
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
Fisher people
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
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Meta Information
Last update15/10/2016