North Ayrshire councillors have today (Wednesday 9 November) voted to object to plans for a major new coal-fired power station at Hunterston. The decision means that Scottish Ministers will now have to hold a public inquiry before they can make a final decision on whether or not to proceed with the project proposed by Peel Energy.

A coalition of environment, social justice and faith groups opposed to the development has welcomed the decision.

Aedán Smith, Head of Planning and Development for RSPB Scotland said: “We really hope Peel take the message that nobody wants their coal plant. They should save everybody’s time and money and drop this damaging proposal. However, if they don’t, we’re prepared to keep fighting them right through a public inquiry until the plans are rejected”.

North Ayrshire Council’s objection comes just weeks after it emerged over 21,000 people have now objected to the plans for Hunterston, the most ever recorded for a single proposal in Scottish planning history.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF Scotland said: “It’s great news that the voices of the 21,000 people who objected to this climate-wrecking proposal have been heard by Councillors. This was the wrong scheme in the wrong place. If the company have any sense they will cut their losses and walk away from this proposal, rather than fight a bitter, lengthy and expensive public inquiry over Scotland’s most unpopular planning application.”

Stan Blackley, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland added: “”This vote should serve as another nail in the coffin for Peel’s disastrous development. It’s time to move away from burning fossil fuels, and it’s time the people of North Ayrshire stopped having unwanted polluting industry dumped on their doorstep. Scottish Ministers must now reject this proposal as soon as possible and send a clear, strong signal that Scotland’s future is in clean, green energy.”

Scottish Wildlife Trust National Planning Co-ordinator Maggie Keegan said: “The council know that this proposed power plant is not right for the area, its people or its wildlife. The Scottish Wildlife Trust will continue to fight against this inappropriate development. Building this power station would destroy an important feeding area for wading birds such as greenshank and oystercatcher who would have nowhere else to go in Ayrshire if the mudflats were built on. But the damage doesn’t stop there, nationally important eelgrass beds and rare species to Scotland such as seaside centaury and a type of cuckoo bee would also disappear.”

Lawrence Carter, campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “Today’s council decision to turn away from dirty coal is a huge step forwards for both Scotland and the UK. Building a new coal dinosaur at Hunterston would pour millions of tonnes of climate wrecking carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year and bust Scotland’s climate change targets, all to build a power plant that isn’t even needed. Scotland is blessed with unparalleled renewable energy resources and should focus on becoming a world leader in the technologies of the future, not those of the past. Ministers should now ditch new coal pollution and win the economic growth and jobs that clean energy can bring.”


Notes to editors

Solicitor to North Ayrshire Council recommendation

There have been around 21,000 objections to the Hunterston coal plant proposals, making this the most unpopular application ever in Scotland.

The campaign against the Hunterston coal-fired power station proposal is supported by a broad coalition of environment and faith groups, including RSPB Scotland, WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Planning Democracy, Christian Aid, Church of Scotland, Oxfam, World Development Movement Scotland, and Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston (CONCH).

A new report ‘Climate Change Implications of the proposed Hunterston Power Station’ shows how Ayrshire Power has over-estimated the potential emissions reduction from the proposed coal plant when compared to a conventional coal plant.

Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent.