31st December 2020 Wishing All FOFOC Supporters a Happy and Safe 2021!
It has been some time since our last Friends of the Firth of Clyde (FOFOC) update and an awful lot has happened. So, as we approach the start of 2021, we wanted to take this opportunity to bring you up to date with developments at Hunterston PARC and our plans over the coming year.
We are absolutely delighted to be able to announce that Marine Scotland & the Scottish Ministers have decided that Peel Ports’ plans for massive dredging and construction works at Hunterston to bring oil-rigs for decommissioning to Hunterston WILL REQUIRE an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) . Read the EIA Screening Opinion on the Marine Scotland Planning Portal>>>
Peel Ports have published their report of the results of the Public Consultation on the development of Hunterston PARC held during May/June2019. Click here to read the Hunterston PARC Executive Summary >>>
In the Scottish Wetlands Debate on 15th January 2020 MSP Ross Greer highlights proposals at Hunterston along with Donald Trump’s golf course at Menie as evidence that SSSI doesn’t necessarily provide gold standard of protection:
The issue of nuclear safety at Hunterston is of considerable interest to the local and wider community. On the 5th September 2019 a representative of the Friends of Firth of Clyde attended the Hunterston Site Stakeholder Group (SSG)to ask the questions: (i) What is the level of radioactivity within the sediment at Hunterston and what implications might significant dredging in the area have on its release into the marine environment? (ii) What is the planning / licensing relationship between Hunterston Nuclear Site & Hunterston PARC? (iii) What liaison /communication had taken place between the Nuclear Licensing Division of SEPA and the SEPA Waste Management Division that was consulted by Marine Scotland regarding the EIA Screening?
This item shows that delays to decision on EIA screening opinion from have not been taken well by Peel Ports. FOI request submitted by FOFOC reveals an email from Envirocentre (Peel Ports representatives) to Marine Scotland stating that they “intend to take up the matter with the minster”. We argue that this email raises significant questions of transparency about the nature of influence of relationships between ministers and large-scale developers and industrialists such as Peel Ports wishing to pursue complex developments in highly environmentally sensitive areas and specifically in the case of Southannan Sands SSSI at Hunterston.
Provides context and details of FOFOC letter sent to Marine Scotland outlining a key outstanding issue regarding the exact definition of ‘The Project’ and the way in which ‘salami slicing‘ of the planning and licensing applications into smaller discrete elements avoids full scrutiny of the overall cumulative impact of Peel Ports’ decommissioning plans.
Local community shocked and surprised to learn that the ‘giant’ 177m test wind turbine that remains on Hunterston construction yard is to be felled by explosives.
Friends of the Firth of Clyde (FoFoC) reveal that a Waste Management Licence (WML) was granted to Clydeport Operations Ltd (AKA Peel Ports) by Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). The nature of the license raises serious concerns about the capability and capacity of SEPA to oversee and enforce the highest environmental standards required to ensure the protection of the communities and intertidal waters surrounding Southannan Sands SSSI.Green Environment
28th August 2019 Green Party Environmental Spokesperson backs EIA campaign
Following a FOFOC public meeting on at Largs Academy, supporters send over 3000 individually signed “NO WAY WITHOUT AN EIA” postcards to Graham Black at Marine Scotland and the online petition moves towards 5000 signatures. Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment Spokesperson for the Scottish Greens joins North Ayrshire’s Green MSP Ross Greer in supporting FOFOC calls for an EIA to take place before dredging and construction work for a decommissioning facility can be licensed by Marine Scotland.
Over one hundred people attend our public meeting update meeting about Peel Ports oil rig decom proposals organised by Independent Councillor Ian Murdoch and supported by Green Party MSP Ross Greer.
To support our “SAY NO WAY WITHOUT AN EIA” public postcard signing FOFOC produced this briefing paper to provide an at a glance guide as to why it should be expected that an EIA is required before any decom plans are progressed.
Launch of the FOFOC #SaveSouthannanSands campaign. We call on everyone concerned about protection of the Southannan Sands SSSI to email Marine Scotland and sign one of our postcards to tell them “SAY NO WAY WITHOUT AN EIA”.
Following the shocking FOI revelations about Peel Ports revised plans for massive dredging of Southannan Sands SSSI, FOFOC discover that Peel Ports have submitted a request for a new EIA Screening Opinion to Marine Scotland (MS). Following consultation with our QC we writte to Marine Scotland calling for them to exercise their powers to require an EIA before any dredging or construction consents are granted.
The FOFOC discover through FOI that Peel Ports submitted a marine license application to Marine Scotland (MS) to dredge from the area of Southannan Sands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that included dredging TWELVE TIMES the volume of sand that was declared by them in the Public Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) Event on 8th August 2018.
Following Peel Ports’ public consultation on their ’20 Year Master Plan’ FOFOC write to all the Scottish planning, regulatory and licensing authorities, along with local and national elected representatives, to tell them that we hold them responsible for the protection of Southannan Sands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities that will live the wider consequences of the development of Hunterston PARC for generations to come.
On 28th June 2019 Peel Ports concluded the 6 week public consultation on their ’20 Year Master Plan’ for Hunterston PARC. Read FOFOC response in full.
North Ayrshire Council (NAC) Planning Committee met to ratify their response to Peel Ports ’20 year Master Plan’ Consultation on Weds 19th June 2019. FOFOC had very serious concerns about the weakness of NAC’s proposed response. Given the scale and influence of Peel Ports as part of the multi billion£ company Peel Group, we raise the fundamental question of how will NAC ensure that the safety and wellbeing of the local community and the natural environment are protected. Prior to NAC’s planning meeting to ratify their response we wrote to to our elected counsellors and NAC officials every day over the course of a week to raise their awareness and stress our serious objections to Peel Ports Master Plan being adopted and the weakness of North Ayrshire’s response. You can read our emails here.
We have been canvassing opinion about the way the consultation has been conducted and many people have fed back to us that Peel Ports’ online survey doesn’t allow enough opportunity for comments. Because we felt it was really important that the views of the community were fully captured we put together our own survey. We gathered over 100 responses that were included in our response to Peel Ports.
Peel Ports release their 20-Year Vision for the development of Hunterston PARC and a 6 week public consultation period commencing on 16 May 2019 with a deadline of Friday 28 June 2019 for submission of comments
Report on Clyde Regional Marine Plan Public Consultation Meeting – Largs 11/05/19
The team hosted an informative meeting that described the role of CMPP, including membership and governance of it’s Board; followed by an overview of the Clyde Regional Marine Plan and a lengthy question and answer session.
Outline of the questions that FoFoC submit to the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership in advance of the ‘Clyde Regional Marine Plan’ Public Consultation Event in Largs on 11th May 2019, 6-9pm
6th July 2019 Scottish Natural Heritage advised it would be sensible to require an Environmental Impact Assessment of Peel Ports plans for oil rig decommissioning at Hunterston PARC before planning permission was granted
The FOFOC submitted a request for information to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (‘the EIRs’). The written response we received was unequivocal in indicating that SNH advised an EIA was required.
May was a very busy time with two very important public consultation events taking place that will inform future developments at Hunterston Peninsula and the wider plans for the Firth of Clyde. We encouraged all our supporters to attend and to spread the word. This was an important opportunity to learn more and to have the community’s voice heard.
Details of the pre-consultation draft of the Clyde Regional Marine Plan available on the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership website for public comment with a closing date of 27th May 2019 and a series of public events held around the region including at the Brisbane Centre, Largs on 11th May 2019, 6pm – 9pm
FoFoC receive notification from Peelports that they have published their ’20 Year Master Plan’ for Hunterston PARC and that a six week public consultation will be held between 16th May – 29th June 2019.
The question of jobs generated by bringing decommissioning to Hunterston underpins much of the local and national support for the Hunterston project, but a careful look at the evidence reveals that the claim of jobs in the hundreds made by advocates of the project are highly contentious.
MSP Ross Geer continues to raise questions in the Scottish Parliament about the lack of an EIA. Referring to information unearthed by the Friends of the Firth of Clyde (FoFoC) Ross asked the minister during a session of Portfolio Questions on 6th March ’19 why an EIA was not required for the decommissioning project at Hunterston when there is evidence that both Marine Scotland (MS) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) were of the opinion that an EIA would be required if the project was considered in its entirety.
FOFOC learns that the first meeting of the Hunterston Construction Yard Liaison Committee (LC), which is required as part of the Conditional Planning Permission to allow use of the site for decommissioning of large marine structures at the site, will take place on Monday 18th March 2019, 2pm at Clydeport, Hunterston,
2nd March 2019 Watch this! The Hunterston Proposal, by Brandon Cook
If you watch one thing this weekend make time to look at ‘The Hunterston Proposal’ a short independent documentary film, made by journalist Brandon Cook, that examines the proposals for decommissioning at Hunterston. The film aims to provide a balanced overview and includes interviews with representatives of Clydeport; environmental marine specialists, decommissioning academics and supporters of the Friends of the Firth of Clyde, leaving the viewer to form their own opinion
A massive turn out of local people and from neighbouring island communities, turned up to hear FOFOC presentation about Peel Ports plans for Oil Rig Decommissioning at Hunterston Peninsula. We provided an overview of our understanding of the project; emphasised our whole hearted support for the development of an environmentally sustainable ‘circular economy’, whilst also having significant concerns regarding the lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project; the scale and impact of the work required; the lack of evidence for promises of large numbers of jobs; and the risks to the wellbeing of local communities, along with the bird and marine life that is dependant on the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which surrounds Hunterston
MSP Ross Greer of the Green Party 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 wrote 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
5th February 2019 What Do You Need to Know About The Marine Scotland Licence Application?
Marine Scotland (MS) is the directorate within Scottish Government that is responsible for leading the protection of Scotland’s coastal waters and seas with ‘the duel aim of building sustainable economic growth from Scotland’s marine assets, and to safeguard its valuable marine ecosystems’. We provide an overview of their role and how this relates to the licensing permissions that peel ports require for their decom project proposals
26th January 2019 Burns Night Fundraising Supper A Massive Success
The Village Inn, Fairlie was packed to the rafters with Friends of the Firth of Clyde supporters for an evening of food, music and dancing in support of our mission to demand full regulatory and environmental scrutiny of proposals to bring oil rig decommissioning to the Hunterston Peninsular
18th January 2019 Press Reports Hunterston Oil Rig Plans May Face Another Wait
The Ardrossan Herald report that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) may delay their decision on granting the Waste Management License (WML) that Clydeport / Peelports submitted in October 2018 . SEPA told the Herald that “The application was received on 4 October. Whilst SEPA has a four month period to determine the application this can be extended if further time is required.” FOFOC have vigorously challenged the application for a WML rather than a Pollution Prevention & Control (PPC) permit, highlighting that the decision to not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prior to planning permission for decommissioning at Hunterston being granted by North Ayrshire Council (NAC) was based on the assumption that a PPC would be submitted to SEPA. Crucially the PPC regulations apply an integrated environmental approach to the regulation of industrial activities. This means that emissions to air, water and land, plus a range of other environmental effects, must be considered together.