First; Suits Last
Published in Product, Edinburgh, No. 4, 2000, p. 4.
is the only f'ing rock that you're going to get out of Scotland." That's
what a group of Earth First! activists from the Pollock Free State M77 motorway
protest said as they beat drums and handed out coloured sticks of Edinburgh Rock
at Edinburgh’s Maybury Banqueting Centre in 1992.
it was not to kiddies, but to shocked international businessmen zipped up in
suits that the ecowarriors gave the candy. It was hardly the fare for which
delegates had paid £160 for the privilege of hearing why Scotland was “the
place to come” for establishing an international "superquarrying"
unsound about the idea of superquarries is locating them on pristine sites
within National Scenic Areas, such as South Harris in the Outer Hebrides. Here,
if the French-owned Lafarge Redland Aggregates get their way, one of the biggest
holes in the world will be blasted out of Mt Roineabhal. It would be 50 times
larger than an existing large British quarry and be equivalent to dropping 6
Hiroshima-sized atom bombs on the mountain. Eagles nest within just 400 metres
from the quarry boundary and in 1995 the people of Harris voted 68% against the
road protest activists from Glasgow were one step ahead of the industry,
however. As a limousine transporting dischuffed Scottish Office dignitaries sped
back to St Andrews House, prospective entrepreneurs realised they had been given
vital market information. Scotland was not, afer all, going to be an
environmental walk-over. British road-building has now been cut back, and
aggregate demand has crashed with it.
July the Scottish environment minister, Sarah Boyack, asked Scottish Natural
Heritage to consider whether South Harris merits designation as a Special Area
of Conservation – Europe’s highest protective designation. If this goes
ahead, the people of Harris will be able to get on with sustainable job
creation. Already the efforts of Harris Development Ltd has created more jobs
than the quarry would have achieved. And the Roineabhal eagles will be able to
nest in peace.
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