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Lafarge Redland seek Lingerabay judicial review

LAFARGE Redland Aggregates have called for a judicial review of Scottish Environment Minister Sarah Boyack's decision to delay further the determination of the Lingerabay planning application lodged by the company back in March 1991.

For almost a decade Lafarge Redland have been seeking to develop a coastal quarry at Lingerabay on the Isle of Harris, but now the Minister has decided to refer to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) the question of whether the site should be submitted as a candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Lafarge Redland believe that Scottish Ministers have a statutory duty to determine the outcome of the application on the evidence they have before them in the findings of the Public Inquiry which ran for eight months from October 1994 to June 1995. The company are therefore seeking a decision by the Ministers on the planning application within 21 days of their judicial review application being granted.

John Leivers, Lafarge Redland Aggregates' director of lands and planning, said the company were 'extremely disappointed' at Ms Boyack's announcement which would create yet another delay in determining the result of the planning application.

'The company has shown incredible patience and understanding during the five years and more since the Public Inquiry finished..however that patience has now been stretched beyond reasonable limits,' he said.

'We firmly believe the Scottish Ministers have a statutory duty to take the decision now, based on the findings of the Public Inquiry. Equally importantly, we believe the people of Harris don't deserve to suffer from any further indecision.'

In their petition to the Court of Session, Lafarge Redland said Ms Boyack's referral to SNH was not based on any proper material consideration and was therefore unacceptable.

The company have also pointed out that SNH was the principal objector to the development at the Public Inquiry and claim that asking such a party to make a determination after the Inquiry on an issue which might support the refusal of planning permission is a breach of the company's rights under Article 6 of the Convention of Human Rights.

'We firmly believe there is no justification for Ms Boyack's referral to SNH,' said Mr Leivers. 'That referral is the only reason given by Ms Boyack for the further delay in making a decision following the unprecedented and inexcusable delay since the completion of the Inquiry in June 1995 and the delivery of the final report to the Scottish Office in April last year.

'Ms Boyack has a legal duty to make the decision and should have done so by now.'

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