for Sunday Herald, 25 June 2000
Ministers are paralysed in an agony of indecision over the plan to build a massive superquarry on Harris, prolonging one of Scotland's longest-running and most farcical environmental sagas.
Twelve years after the plan was first conceived and five years after a public inquiry into it finished, there is still no decision in sight from the Scottish Executive. Islanders, environmentalists, MSPs and the developer, Lafarge Redland Aggregates, are all deeply frustrated and increasingly angry at the delay.
According to insiders, the Scottish environment minister, Sarah Boyack, is instinctively opposed to the superquarry, which has assumed an iconic importance for environmentalists. But she has been "tearing her hair out" trying to reach a decision on the issue in conjunction with other colleagues, including the first minister, Donald Dewar.