Angry villagers who say their homes are almost completely encircled by waste dumps and mining operations yesterday took their protest to the Scottish Parliament.

More than 40 residents from four Lanarkshire villages, who claim they have been refused a meeting with Jack McConnell, the first minister, travelled to Edinburgh for a rally.

They later queued for seats in the public galleries in the parliament building in the hope that Mr McConnell would be tackled about their grievance.

People from Greengairs, Wattston, Glenmavis, and Plains claim they are already home to Europe's biggest landfill and Scotland's biggest opencast mine, and now face the prospect of a ninth site.

Ann Coleman, of Greengairs Environmental Forum, said: ''We are unique - no other community in Scotland is being asked to live with such an unfair burden of dumping and mining.

''We are only asking the Scottish Executive to deliver on their social and environmental justice promises.''

Seven MSPs from all parties - apart from Labour - attended the rally.

Alex Neil, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, told the gathering Mr McConnell had reneged on his ''enough is enough'' promise.

Mr McConnell refused to be drawn, when challenged during first minister's questions, to return to Greengairs to explain the executive's position.

Mr McConnell said: ''It was precisely because of our concern for the community of Greengairs that we did not allow North Lanarkshire to agree this planning application at the time.

''We called that application in to ensure that appropriate conditions are imposed on any application.''