14th January 2019
Thank you for supporting the Friends of the Firth of Clyde.
Each month we will send you an update on progress with our aim of holding the statutory authorities and regulatory bodies to account for the environmental protection and sympathetic development of the Hunterston Peninsula and the surrounding marine environment of the Firth of Clyde.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) advised an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) should be requested before planning permission for decommissioning was granted
The FOFOC submitted a request for information under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (‘the EIRs’) via MSP Ross Greer of the Green Party, asking ‘what discussions SNH have had to date with North Ayrshire Council regarding the need for an EIA for this project, what advice was given to the council by SNH, whether discussions were documented and what the outcome was?’
The written response we have received is unequivocal that SNH advised an EIA was required, and states that:
“We (SNH) attended the screening meeting at the Hunterston site on 23 January 2017. At the meeting we expressed the opinion that due to the scale, the introduction of new processes and complex nature of the entire project, that it would be sensible to request the production of an EIA. The structure of any EIA could be scoped to narrow down the range of environmental factors and impacts being considered. At the conclusion of the meeting the Council indicated that they would consider the change of use application for the yard without an EIA of the entire project. This meeting was not minuted, and North Ayrshire Council decided that an EIA would not be required.”
Jargon Buster: You can find out more about what an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is and why they need to be done by looking at this Friends of the Earth Fact Sheet.
What else have we been doing?
With funding raised through GoFundMe we have engaged the services of Douglas Armstrong QC of Terra Firma Chambers, who has an excellent reputation in the field of planning and environmental law. Douglas has provided FOFOC with a detailed legal opinion highlighting the significant flaws in the processes that led to the decision of North Ayrshire Council (NAC) to not require an EIA prior to agreeing the addition of decommissioning to the existing planning permissions. The 3 month time bar for appeal against the NAC decision means we have to look forward with our strategy and this involves preparing to challenge the next stage of licence application to Marine Scotland, with the ultimate aim of taking the legal challenge for an EIA as far as possible in the year ahead.
The harsh reality is that we need on-going financial support to continue our legal challenge. Thank you to everyone that that has donated to date, every penny helps and every donation will help us in our mission.
Donations can be made online on our GoFundMe Page: https://www.gofundme.com/7ujhe-save-our-marine-lifeor contact firstname.lastname@example.org information on other ways to donate.
Fund Raising Events
Over the coming months we will be organising a number of fundraising events.
Our first fundraiser will be the FOFOC Burns Night Event on 25th January 2019 at the Village Inn, Bay Street, Fairlie. Tickets cost £20.00 per person and include a three-course meal and an auction of donated prizes. Tickets are selling out fast and will be offered on first come first serve basis, so be quick with your bookings.
If you would like to reserve a ticket please contact email@example.com
We have sent and received a range of correspondence to regulatory bodies and statuary authorities, including:
Marine Scotland (MS)
We have sent a letter stating our objections in advance of the publication of the Marine License Application to MS, and formally asking for them to send us notice of the application when it is published.
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
We have sent a series of letters to SEPA outlining our concerns regarding the material changes outlined in the Waste Management Licence (WML) application – including the use of roads to transport waste; inadequacy of the noise assessment; and the inclusion of the Clydeport Coal Jetty for receipt of rigs and removal of materials for which there is explicitly no planning permission in place.
Importantly, FOFOC highlighted that the NAC planning permission was granted on the assumption that all environmental risks would be mitigated through the application for a Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) Permit and would be open to public scrutiny as part of the process. A WML is a the type of licence a scrap car dealer would apply for and does not require public consultation.
North Ayrshire Council (NAC)
We have met with and made representation to the NAC planning committee outlining our concerns, as outlined above, about the WML application and called on them, as a statutory consultee to the WML application, to recommend that an EIA be requested before the application moves forward.
Spread the word and ask your friends, colleagues, neighbours and family to support the Friends of the Firth of Clyde to make our voice even stronger.
You can follow the Friends of the Firth by joining our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/NORIGSINFAIRLIE/