Graeme Dey MSP (in the middle) with Leanne Yates (of Scottish quarry company Denfind, one of the members of the Scottish Stone Group) and Marcus Paine of Hutton Stone, a founding member of the Group, in the Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber after the debate.
Following the newly formed Scottish Stone Group's meeting with Ministers and MPs in the Scottish Parliament last year (read more...) the Scottish Parliament has now held a debate in the chamber on the future of Scottish stone.
The Scottish Stone Group has welcomed the Members' Debate, led by Graeme Dey, MSP for Angus South Constituency, that took place yesterday (22 February). It focused on the establishment of the Scottish Stone Group (SSG) and the opportunities to grow the industry.
MSPs from various political parties spoke in the debate to raise awareness of the indigenous stone sector in Scotland. MSPs heard that around 85% of stone used in Scotland is imported at a cost of £40million. The stone industry in Scotland supports around 160 jobs directly. MSPs discussed how parliament could promote the use of local stone for the creation of jobs, support of communities and raising quality standards.
In the debate, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy, one of the ministers the Scottish Stone Group briefed last year, said: “I am genuinely delighted that we are having a debate about an industry that has maybe not been in the spotlight and has perhaps not had the attention that it deserves.
“Having a domestic source of stone to replace worn-out stone on deteriorating buildings is absolutely vital if we are to preserve the iconic structures and town centres that we all take for granted.
“A significant amount of stone is imported into Scotland at this time and there is a great opportunity to grow the sector and replace imported products with quality Scottish stone that is quarried here in Scotland.
“Our built environment has a rich legacy of the innovative use of stone, and we are keen to capitalise on and promote the use of our national assets wherever possible. As well as looking attractive and fitting into our landscapes, Scottish stone has the advantage of being very environmentally friendly.
“Stone needs little processing as a product, and it does not need to be transported any great distance, which is an important consideration given that it is such a heavy material. Among potential clients who purchase stone, it is important that we raise awareness of the fact that they can reduce their environmental impact by sourcing locally.
“Scottish Enterprise and the construction Scotland innovation centre are fully supportive of the Scottish Stone Group and its aims. Scottish Enterprise will work with the group to market and network with the wider construction industry— architectural professionals and others who need to be aware of the product’s potential offering—and support its plans to promote the use of Scottish stone. It will also facilitate engagement with the construction industry leadership group.
“I am confident that that will lead to a better understanding of how best to utilise the tremendous variety of our native stone in the construction industry and to develop, where possible, new products that will help with cladding (and for other purposes) so that we can make sure that we can have modern architecture in historic settings that will blend in with its surroundings.”
Marcus Paine, Managing Director of Hutton Stone and a founding member of Scottish Stone Group, said after listening to the debate: "We understand that this was the first dedicated debate on the natural stone industry in the Scottish Parliament and we would like to thank Graeme Dey for highlighting the sector. It is welcome to see MSPs discuss the future of the stone sector and the opportunities to grow the industry throughout Scotland and create jobs.
“We want to promote the use of indigenous natural stone and grow the industry, promoting an important environmentally sustainable material and creating more manufacturing and skilled jobs and apprenticeships. The carbon waste of importing stone from the other side of the world needs to be highlighted, especially when we have a rich and quality product here in Scotland."