‘Clean Coal’ proposal receives a record number of objections.
The proposed new coal fired power station on the Ayrshire coast at Hunterston has attracted more formal objections than any other development in the history of the Scottish planning system, with over 20,000 people having now registered their opposition. A large proportion of the objections come from people living in North Ayrshire.
Carbon capture and storage technology, if applied to all the emissions frm the new station, could theoretically ensure that up to 90% of CO2 emissions are captured instead of being released into the atmosphere. Howver, the plans for the start-up are much more modest with only 15% of the Carbon Dioxide (CO2 ) being removed – and it is not clear yet how even this negligible figure wouold be achieved.
Aedán Smith, Head of Planning and Development at RSPB Scotland, said: “I think these figures demonstrate the strength of public feeling against the building of a new Hunterston power station, and the level of local opposition is clear to see. We hope that the views of local people will be taken into account when North Ayrshire Council considers its position on the proposals over the next few weeks”.
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said: “The area has had enough uncertainty about energy development. The huge public opposition shows that this application should be turned down, especially as we don’t believe it will be built should it be given the go ahead. In order to make carbon capture on coal work, even ScottishPower would need over £1bn at Longannet, making it highly improbable Ayrshire Power will be able to build this unpopular station or find a buyer for the site.”
Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Given the huge number of people who have objected, local Councillors and Scottish Ministers would be foolish to ignore them. Scotland does not need another dirty coal-fired power station and the plans for this one should be consigned to the dustbin forthwith.”
More than 30ha of a coastal wildlife site used by tens of thousands of wintering water birds – the largest such site in Ayrshire – could be completely destroyed if the new power station is built.
Tim Cowen co-chair of Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston (CONCH), added: “CONCH will be giving evidence to North Ayrshire Council at a pre-determination hearing on October 24. North Ayrshire Council will be meeting on November 9 to decide on whether or not to support Ayrshire Powers plans. If allowed to proceed, Ayrshire Powers plans will have a devastating impact on our health, environment and economy. It is vital that the Council put the interests of their constituents ahead of big polluting business. We are calling on councillors to give a strong signal to the Scottish Government and “Say no to dirty coal”.
North Ayrshire Council will hear views from objectors and the applicant on Monday 24 October at Cunninghame House, before taking a decision on their position on the application on Wednesday 9 November.