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Councillors to decide on Hunterston coal power plant

Category: Scotland

Published: 9th Nov 2011 00:02:10

Councillors in North Ayrshire are due to decide later whether to support controversial proposals for a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston.

Officials have recommended the local authority rejects the plans, a move which would lead to a public inquiry.

Ayrshire Power wants to build a plant with experimental carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at the site.

But environmental groups claim it would damage local wildlife and make climate change targets harder to achieve.

There have been more than 20,000 objections to the proposals.

Ayrshire Power has argued the coal-fired power station would represent a major economic opportunity for Scotland and would help fill a predicted shortfall in the UK's generating capacity.

The company plans to use CCS technology to minimise the station's greenhouse gas emissions and says it would be easier to develop this technology at a brand new facility.

This meeting is a crucial milestone in our two year campaign against this damaging proposal”

Emissions would be captured, turned into liquid and stored underground on site, if that technology can be proven.

The energy firm also claims the new power station would generate a "significant" number of jobs in the area, with up to 1,600 people being employed during construction and another 160 in permanent jobs when the power station is running.

Environmental campaigners have said the proposals make a mockery of Scotland's climate change targets and have raised concerns that a new power station would damage public health.

Last month they lost a legal challenge against plans for the Hunterston facility.

A judicial review challenged a decision by the Scottish government to include the planned power station in the National Planning Framework.

Speaking ahead of the vote on the proposals, Dr Richard Dixon from WWF Scotland urged councillors to support the findings of council officials and reject the development.

He said: "From local wildlife and tourism impacts to climate change emissions, this is the wrong proposal in the wrong place."

Aedan Smith, from RSPB Scotland, added: "This meeting is a crucial milestone in our two year campaign against this damaging proposal.

"About 21,000 people have now objected to the plans, more than any other application in Scottish history.

"This speaks volumes and is a clear sign to North Ayrshire councillors, Scottish ministers and the developers this project is not wanted or needed."

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BBC News, 2011. Councillors to decide on Hunterston coal power plant [Online] (Updated 9th Nov 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/200690/Councillors-to-decide-on-Hunterston-coal-power-plant [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]

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