Should The Harris Superquarry Go Ahead? Essay, Research Paper

Should The Harris Superquarry Go Ahead?

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Rural Economic Development

Kenneth Mercer BSc

Rural Resources III

16th December 1994



1 Summary

There is considerable environmental resistance to the development of the Harris

superquarry. This is improbable to halt the development on its ain, but if the

Scots Office decides that the undertaking can travel in front environmental

limitations are likely to be imposed on the operation to understate, every bit far as

possible, the impact. The grounds for the development Centre round the demand

for economic development to convey occupations and prosperity to this distant country. The

life of the prey is expected to be around 60 old ages and supply an initial 30

occupations, lifting to 80 as the prey reaches peak production. The inquiry is if

a superquarry is the best solution to the jobs of a distant rural country.

What will go on when the occupations come to an terminal and would another signifier of

investing non be more appropriate to their demands? Would the presence of a

prey restrict the pick for farther development? Could an integrated

attack be adopted and a 2nd coevals prey planned? The determination of

whether or non to travel in front can non be delayed indefinitely as Norway and Spain

are looking at developing their ain. If it is to travel in front so an early start

will give Harris a stronger place in the market.

2 Introduction

This study examines the contention and cardinal issues environing the superquarry

at Rodel, Lingerbay on the southern seashore of the Isle of Harris ( Figure 1 ) and

efforts to happen an acceptable solution. The prey will excavate out the bosom

of the mountain but leave plenty of a shell to go forth the skyline mostly

unaffected. The whole inquiry of whether or non it should travel in front or non is

the topic of the current public question in Stornaway. A determination must be

made shortly. The market for sums is limited, Norway and Spain ( Section 3.1,

1991 ) have their ain sites and are besides looking at the potency for developing



( Glasgow Herald, 20/10/94 )


3.1 History

1927A elaborate geological study identified the sedimentation of anorthosite.

1965Planning permission was given in rule to quarry the stone. The

remit covered a larger site than is planned today.

1966Some little graduated table quarrying took topographic point but found an on site stone oppressing

works and a deep seaport were necessary for economic viability.

74-76Outline planning permission was given for quarrying, transportation and

lading installations but this was ne’er acted on.

1977The Scots Office issued National Planning Guidelines. Harris was

identified as one of 9 possible sites. ( The Scotsman 18/7/93 )

1980Ian Wilson, a Scots enterpriser specializing in minerals, persuaded

Ralph Verney, the adviser to the environmental secretary, to urge a big

graduated table survey on the potency of superquarrys in Scotland. The Scots Office

commissioned Dalradian Mineral Services & # 8211 ; Wilson and Colin Gribble & # 8211 ; to compose a

study on the chances. It was published in 1980 and listed 16 possible

sites including 5 cardinal sites, one of which was Rodel. Many of the mineral rites

were bought by Wilson before he published the study, the remainder he acquired

subsequently. He sold his thought for the Harris superquarry at Rodel ( Figure 1 ) to

Redland Aggregates, and if the prey goes in front, he will have a royalty for

each metric ton of stone removed. ( New Scientist 1994 )

1981Outline planning permission was given for quarrying but it was non on a

big plenty graduated table to be economically feasible.

1988The Scots Office asked the Western Islands Island Council to develop

a policy on mineral extraction. This has still non been done.

1989Government Planing Guidance Notes predicted a demand for crushed stone.

1991Consultants Ove Arup surveyed the potency for sites and identified 12

in Norway, 1 & # 8211 ; 2 in the North of Spain and less than 4 in Scotland.

Redland Aggregates submitted a new planning application to the Western Isles

Island Council.

1992The Scots Office issued a bill of exchange study which recognised the possible

for Rodel but found that socio-economic benefits needed to be balanced with

environmental effects. ( The Scotsman 18/7/93 )

1993A canvass was sent out to 1822 island-dwellers inquiring them to vote on the issue.

1109 replied, which amounted to a 60.9 % response. The consequences showed that the

bulk of the Islanders were in favor of the prey. The ballots cast were as

follows: For, 682 ( 62.1 % ) and Against, 417 ( 37.9 % ) . There was a strong

regional fluctuation though, the farther from the site the people were, the more

in favor they tended to be. ( Glasgow Herald 17/6/93 ) A hebdomad subsequently this canvass

resulted in the Western Islands Council vote in favor of the planning

application by 24 ballots to 3. ( Glasgow Herald 25/6/93 ) Western Isles Island

Council held a Particular meeting in Tarbet. ( The Scotsman 18/7/93 ) The

Department of the Environment concluded that England could non run into its ain

demands for sums. ( New Scientist 1994 )

1994A Royal committee study concluded that the demand for sums for

route building would be well cut by cut downing our current dependance

on route conveyance. It recommended that if coastal superquarries were to be

granted be aftering permission so it should be a legal demand that the

quarried stone should be transported by sea. It further concluded that the

recycling of building stuffs would take the demand for superquarries and

cut down the distance over which sums would necessitate to be transported. ( Royal

Commission 1994 ) By September the Highlands and Islands Enterprise had given

its general support to the undertaking and the Highlands and Islands Development

Board had approved a grant and loan totalling? 250,000 to the company set up

by Ian Wilson, Harris Minerals Ltd. ( Glasgow Herald 30/9/94 )

3.2 The grounds for the choice of Lingerbay

The grounds for the choice of the site were chiefly economic:

*The mountain consists of an estimated potency of 6 million metric tons of

anorthosite. Equally far as the sum industry is concerned this stone is a top

quality merchandise, suited for a bring forthing a broad scope of sums, crushed rocks

and littorals.

*The mountain is situated by a deep glacial sea loch which is required

for the entree of the 30,000 metric ton ships which will take the stone. Unless

the stone can be straight loaded from the site to the ships the prey will non

be economically feasible. The loch is deep plenty to suit the deep

seaport ( 24 metres ) required.

3.3 The demand for economic development

& lt ;< p>Lack of employment thrusts people out of the countryside. This creates jobs

as it consequences in an aging population and a higher dependent to worker ratio.

This has a dramatic consequence on the hard currency flow of the country & # 8211 ; As pensionaries have

less to pass than a paid worker, there is less money spent in the local stores

and saloon. This means in a cut in services & # 8211 ; Less net incomes result in less

proviso. This is the downward spiral of rural depopulation and want.

Want exists if public assistance drops below an in agreement criterion. This definition

goes farther than the job of finance. Education, public conveyance,

health care, lodging and recreational services are all covered by the above

definition. In distant rural countries the general degree of these services are

clearly lower than the national norm. ( Midwinter, A and Monaghan 1990 )

Harris now has a population of 2,200 which represents a diminution of 41 % over the

last 40 old ages, for those who remain 33 % of families have no grownup in work.

( The Guardian 8/11/94 ) Ian Wilson claims that the creative activity of the

superquarry will convey prosperity to the dieting corners of the Highlands and

Islands and is the economic development necessary to change by reversal this diminution.

3.4 Other inducements

Redland Aggregates has conceded one-year contributions to a local trust fund if the

prey goes in front. This would lift to a amount of? 100,000 as the prey reached

full production. ( Glasgow Herald 16/6/94 )

Ships could supply a inexpensive piggyback for administering local green goods. ( New

Scientist 1994 )

3.5 The environmental concerns

*Ships ballast H2O could present foreign species of sea life. This

is a concern because without marauding biological control any introduced

species could multiply quickly and put the local Marine ecosystem at hazard.

( New Scientist 1994 ) There is peculiar concern over the debut of

toxic phytoplankton species. ( SNH 1994 )

*The country is home to otters. They are protected by the 1981 Wildlife and

Countryside Act and some would be displaced by the development. ( Scots

Field 1993 )

*The potency for a hit with oil oilers will be greatly increased

due to the excess traffic involved. ( Friends of the Earth )

*Although non a SSSI the site beats the measure uping grade of 300 points and

is the place of 149 species of bryophite ( Mosses and hepatics ) 7 of which are

rare. ( The Scotsman 10/10/94 ) These are peculiarly vulnerable to dust.

Heather and bog mosses, an built-in portion of the ecosystem, could be sensitive

to additions in Ca and dirt pH degrees. ( SNH 1994 )

*Harris is designated as a National Scenic Area and should be preserved.

( The Scotsman 10/10/94 )

*Development of a prey could besides curtail some types of other

development. Harris has an exceeding plus of a pollution free environment.

This is recognised by Scotia Pharmaceuticals who plan the development of an a

micro-algae farm on Harris. This development is under menace because they

could non put on the line any opportunity of taint to a merchandise destined for the

medical industry. ( The Scotsman 3/10/94 )

3.6 Making the prey more toothsome

Redland Aggregates has indicated that non resident workers would hold to go forth

the island at weekends to understate any struggle with the locals. This would be

written into their contract of employment. ( The Scotsman 13/10/94 )

A 2nd coevals superquarry would hold a double intent, it would supply stone

for quarrying but this would be portion of a building programme. The terminal

consequence would non be merely a hole in the land but could be designed to make full

some other usage, for illustration produce HEP.

4 Decision

4.1 The instance for development

The Scots Office approves. ( Section 3.1 ) Rodel is the best site in

geological footings. ( Section 3.2 ) The quarrying and transportation would be severely

needed economic accelerators to the country. ( Section 3.3 and 3.4 ) There is a

limited demand for sums and Spain and Norway are developing their ain

programs. If the Harris prey is delayed excessively long so it will hold to confront this

excess competition.

4.2 The instance against development

The country is an NSA and development would do environmental concerns. ( Section

3.5 ) There are other options & # 8211 ; particularly the recycling of building

stuffs. ( Section 3.1 )

4.3 The likely result

There is no uncertainty that Harris could profit from economic development, but what

would go of it when the stone runs out or if demand falls? My personal

feeling is that the stone should be left entirely. The taint of a pristine

environment is excessively high a cost to pay. Clean Industry which could profit from

this resource would be a more appropriate development but due to the support of

both cardinal and local authorities, the island-dwellers and Ian Wilson I feel be aftering

permission will most likely be given.

4.4 A suited via media

If the development is to travel in front so I would wish to see a 2nd coevals

development. ( Section 3.6 ) This would give the prey a secondary usage and

could supply long term benefit to the community when it has reached the terminal of

its productive life. The operation should besides hold rigorous ordinances on

extraction process to cut down, every bit far as possible, any environmental impact.

The Western Islands Island Council should be ordered to develop a policy on

mineral extraction and include programs to phase in other development as the

prey nears the terminal of its life. The last thing Harris needs is to be left in

an economic vacuity when the stone runs out.


Friends of the Earth, Superquarries versus sustainability, Recruitment cusp

Glasgow Herald, ( 17/6/93 ) , Harris bulk dorsums superquarry

Glasgow Herald, ( 25/6/93 ) , Isles & # 8217 ; ? 50 Million prey eventually given go in front

Glasgow Herald, ( 16/6/94 ) , Quarry house to plight? 100,000 to Island trust

Glasgow Herald, ( 30/9/94 ) , Enterprise at odds with heritage

Glasgow Herald, ( 20/10/94 ) , First shootings fired in prey enquiry

The Guardian, ( 8/11/94 ) Native captain brings thaumaturgy of the rocks across the

Atlantic to assist Hebrides see away menace to soften mountain into splinterings, Page


Midwinter, A and Monaghan, ( 1990 ) , The measuring and analysis of rural

want, Report for COSLA, February 1990

New Scientist, ( 1994 ) , Rush for stone in the Highlands, 8/1/94

Royal Commission, ( 1994 ) , Transport and the environment-18th Report, HMSO,


The Scotsman, ( 18/7/93 ) , Traveling mountains to see how the land lies

The Scotsman, ( 3/10/94 ) , Drug house says prey could hit enlargement

The Scotsman, ( 10/10/94 ) , The cruel quandary for the people of Harris

The Scotsman, ( 13/10/94 ) , Island curbs on superquarry contract staff

Scots Field, ( 1993 ) , Otter break, October 1993

SNH, ( 1994 ) , Lingerbay imperativeness battalion

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