Ross Greer MSP has stepped forward to ask the Scottish Government to intervene in the failure of North Ayrshire Council (NAC) to require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposals for oil rig and large marine vessel decommissioning at Hunterston Penninsula.
Writing in support of the Friends of the Firth of Clyde (FoFoC), Ross has written directly to Rosanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform. Supported by evidence unearthed by a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) recently submitted by FoFoC to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Ross outlines the case for an EIA to be undertaken and calls on Rosanna Cunningham to intervene by Ministerial Review.
Read in Full: MSP Ross Cunningham’s letter to Rosanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (*Tip: Hover over bottom of page to reveal button to click through pages of document)Ross Greer To Rosanna Cunningham Feb 2019 20190205190819414-2
Revealed: What did the authorities say about the need for an EIA ?
- The FIO revealed that at a ‘Screening Opinion Meeting’ held by NAC around May 2017, SNH representatives expressed the opinion that “due to the scale, introduction of new processes and complex nature of the entire project, that it would be sensible to request the production of an EIA.” (see page 10).
- The FOI asked ‘Can SNH recall how the [Screening Opinion] meeting concluded? Their response shows that NAC decided to ignore SNH opinion …‘At the conclusion of the meeting the Council indicated that they would consider the change of use application for the rig yard without an EIA of the entire project’ (see page 10)
- The FOI shows that the Operations Officer for SNH clearly expressed their “frustration” at the potential of the much larger project being divided into separate parts (commonly known as ‘salami slicing’). In a series of emails between SNH & Marine Scotland (MS) regarding whether an EIA should be required, the operations officer states: “…my frustration remains that we were told by the applicant that works were related to a larger project that would involve a change of use at the site. The re-development of the rig yard into a decommissioning facility could introduce a range of operations and processes which could potentially have a much greater impact and the over all project could well justify the request for an EIA” (see page 15).
- In an email to NAC MS states that the project may well fall under Schedule 1 of the EIA regulations as the site should be considered a ‘trading port or pier’ if they are loading vessels of over 1350 tonnes – Schedule 1 projects automatically require an EIA to be undertaken (see page 5).
- In the email dated 8th May 2017 from MS to NAC, reference is made to concerns expressed by Envirocentre, who are managing the project for Clyde/Peelport, about the pressing timescales for reaching a decision on the EIA to avoid conflicting opinions arising. This appears to be making reference to the 2017 EIA regulations that were due to come into force on 16th May 2017 introducing more stringent EIA requirements, which would strengthen the case for an EIA being required.
We thank Ross for his support of our cause to protect the Firth of Clyde and await the response from Rosanna Cunningham Rosanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform with interest.
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