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SSLG claim victory as local granite is chosen for Scottish parliament

15 February 2001

The new Scottish parliamentary buildings at Holyrood in Edinburgh are to be clad in grey granite from Kemnay in Aberdeenshire, at least for phase one. The stone will be supplied by Fyfe Glenrock.

There had been fears that cheaper, imported alternatives would be used - fears that Scottish Culture Minister Rhona Brankin did nothing to dispel in an interview with this magazine last year when she said she could not guarantee the granite used would be Scottish.

Shortly after she made that statement the Scottish Stone Liaison Group (SSLG) launched a pre-emptive strike against the use of imported granite, appealing to Scottish pride and a new sense of democracy following devolution.

Alan McKinney, secretary of the SSLG, said last summer that Chinese granite could be used. Scotland\'s new democratic parliament building could be clad with granite imported from one of the world\'s least democratic countries, he complained.

Since then McKinney, representing the SSLG, has had several meetings, which he describes as constructive, with the Holyrood project team.

His argument has been that the decision about which material to use should not be based purely on cost, but should also take into account human rights and the implications for Scottish industry.

He told NSS in January: Obviously the SSLG was campaigning to secure the result that has been achieved - well, for the first phase, anyway. But it is hoped that by meeting the delivery dates and the quality standard that Kemnay quarry will also be successful on the other elements of the contract.

This will have a significant effect on the entire stone industry in Scotland and will provide a strong basis for further expansion and further development for the use of granite in buildings in Scotland. When you start to get volume, your unit costs start to improve.

The story gave SSLG a chance to promote the industry and Alan McKinney appeared on national radio and television in Scotland, as well as in the national press there.

Another phase of the Holyrood development will use slate, but that probably will be imported because SSLG\'s attempts to revive the Scottish slate industry have so far proved unsuccessful. The last Scottish slate quarry closed in 1955.

The Scottish Stone Liaison Group has moved into new offices. They are now at:

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