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Lafarge withdraw from Harris project


"LAST month Lafarge Aggregates formally announced their decision to withdraw from the proposed development of a £70 million coastal quarry at Lingarabay on the Isle of Harris, Scotland. The move followed a decision by the Scottish Court of Session in January to reject the company’s appeal over the extent of an existing planning permission granted in 1965."

Lafarge have also withdrawn their outstanding appeal in pursuit of their 1991 planning application.

"Commenting on the decision to pull out of the development, Lafarge Aggregates’ executive director, Nigel Jackson, said: ‘After 14 years we decided enough was enough. Following the Court’s latest categoric rejection, with three Law Lords ruling against planning permission, we felt we had exhausted the current planning system.’"

"Nevertheless, the ruling had, he said, highlighted the current unresolved problem of sourcing medium- and long-term aggregate supplies in the UK. ‘If it takes 14 years to not get one site, how can we be expected to cater for demand in the future.’"

"According to generally accepted forecasts, aggregate demand is likely to continue at its present rate of 250–270 million tonnes a year for the next 15 years or so. But Mr Jackson has warned that, with fewer and fewer hard rock quarries getting the go-ahead from planning authorities, the UK’s capacity to meet this demand will begin to tail off in 10–20 years time, leaving the UK with a potential shortfall of up to 120 million tonnes a year."

"‘Recycling is already at 90% capacity, new sand and gravel applications don’t have an easy time, marine dredging has its own environmental concerns and imports are limited by wharf capacities and transport logistics, so we can’t rely on these to make up the balance,’ he warned."

"Calling for urgent moves to improve and speed up the planning system, Mr Jackson said that aggregate supply in the long term needed decisions today, but at present ODPM, DEFRA, the Environment Agency and other interested bodies were all working to different agendas."

"‘What we need is a mature, accurate and realistic public debate on ways of meeting the country’s essential raw material requirements without compromising the goals of sustainable development. We need to find the middle ground, and that can only be achieved through constructive dialogue, not conflict.’"


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