for Sunday Herald, 22 October 2000
Scotland's planning system is in tatters as a result of the Court of Session's condemnation of the Scottish Executive for failing to decide on plans for a superquarry on the island of Harris.
Both developers and conservationists say that new European human rights law - on which last week's superquarry judgment was partly based - will undermine hundreds of planning decisions on different types of developments because they are now open to legal challenge on the grounds of delay or unfairness.
"The cosy assumptions that have underpinned Scottish planning for decades have been thrown into chaos," said Martin Sales, the partner responsible for planning law at Burness solicitors in Edinburgh. He represents Lafarge Redland, the French company which is seeking planning permission to dig the superquarry on Harris, and which won last week's verdict.