The Decision Has Been Made! An Environmental Impact Assessment WILL BE REQUIRED Before Hunterston Decommissioning Works Can Commence

12th March 2020

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>>>

Local news reporter Callum Coral of The Largs & Millport Weekly News, who has been one of the few journalist to consistently report on the FOFOC campaign, has announced the EIA outcome along with comments from North Ayrshire Council representatives  – read the full story here >>>

MSP Ross Greer who has  championed our #SaveSouthannanSands “SAY NO WAY WITHOUT AN EIA” campaign issued the following news release:

Greer Hails Community EIA Victory      

Green MSP Ross Greer has welcomed Scottish Ministers’ decision that Peel Ports must carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before construction work begins on an oilrig decommissioning facility at Hunterston. West of Scotland MSP Ross Greer had worked with the Friends of the Firth of Clyde Group to persuade the Scottish Government that such an assessment must be required before hundreds of thousands of tonnes of dredging took place beside Southannan Sands, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Marine Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Government, released a letter on Monday revealing that Peel Ports must carry out the EIA before a decision can be made on whether or not to issue a license for the project

This follows over a year of campaigning by local residents, who are concerned by the likelihood of damage to the adjacent Southannan Sands Site of Special Scientific Interest. North Ayrshire Council had initially decided that an Environmental Impact Assessment was not necessary but since that stage Peel Ports have announced a significantly increased volume of dredging.

After initially supporting North Ayrshire Council’s decision, the Scottish Government confirmed in answer to a question from Ross Greer in March that they were reconsidering their position. Greer and Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP had supported the Friends of the Firth of Clyde campaign for Marine Scotland to require an EIA.

Greer, whose West of Scotland Region includes Hunterston, commented:

“This is fantastic news for the community in Fairlie and for the local environment. I raised this issue with government ministers in writing and in Parliament, working with the Friends of the Firth of Clyde to make the case that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of dredging beside such a sensitive site without any impact assessment would be extremely irresponsible. I am glad ministers have listened and required that a full Environmental Impact Assessment take place before this process goes any further. It is frustrating that other local MSPs wouldn’t join us in this campaign but the right outcome has been reached regardless”.

“There are some really special species in the area, including porpoises and rare seagrass, and it would have been downright irresponsible to allow this scale of dredging and piling to go ahead without a full and frank consideration on the impact. I hope that a fully informed decision can now be made on whether Hunterston is suitable for oilrig decommissioning.”

At the moment we are still taking in the news and over the next few weeks we’ll working out what this all means and what happens next. This doesn’t mean the end to our work of our holding the planning and regulatory authorities to account to protect the marine environment and the communities that surround Hunterston. The one thing we have learned is that sustained public scrutiny is essential to ensure due legal process is always followed and potential conflicts of interest are called out.

So watch this space!

But for now we just want to send every one of our Friends and Supporters a massive “Thank you” for all your support and encouragement we really couldn’t have done it without you!

We are over the moon that FINALLY the complexity of Peel Ports proposals with the associated risks to Southannan Sands SSSI and the surrounding marine environment have been taken seriously.

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