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RSPB Scotland Briefing

Proposed coal fired power station at Hunterston

Scotland does not need additional fossil fuel generating capacity

RSPB Scotland is extremely worried about proposals for a new 1852MW (gross output) coal fired power station at Hunterston in North Ayrshire, and the permanent damage it will cause to the best remaining inter-tidal mudflats left on the outer Clyde. The additional carbon emissions from the power station would also seriously compromise Scotland’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and could damage efforts to make Scotland a world leader on climate change. Scotland’s energy needs can be met through well-sited renewables, so building new fossil fuel power stations simply does not make sense. RSPB Scotland’s serious concerns about this proposal

were made clear application to the

to the

developer at

the

outset.

Scottish

Government

and

we will

Ayrshire be lodging

Power has now a formal objection

submitted the in due course.

The

Scottish

Government

has

set

a

welcome

target

for

reducing

greenhouse

gas

emissions

by

42% by change. capacity

2020, leading the world in showing However, it is difficult to see how it if it hopes to achieve these targets.

that can

we are prepared to take action entertain proposals for new coal

on climate generating

RSPB Scotland welcomed the decision in October of last year by Danish company DONG Energy to pull out of investing in a hugely polluting new coal plant on the Portencross Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Hunterston. Unfortunately, Peel Energy continued to develop the proposal, which was lodged with the Scottish Government on 2nd June 2010. This development would destroy around 30 hectares of the best remaining inter-tidal mudflats left on the outer Clyde, important feeding grounds for waterfowl. The proposed development at the Hunterston site would extend across 95 hectares, equating to an area roughly the size of 148 football pitches. The buildings themselves would be significant in size with the highest building approximately 115m tall and the air emission stack approximately 155m – just over 500ft. Until carbon capture technology is completely proven, new coal power stations simply don't make sense technically, or environmentally.

Notwithstanding our concerns with this proposal in principle, the plans put forward do not appear designed to minimise environmental harm on this important site. In particular, it is disappointing that the layout proposed would involve infilling and destroying valuable intertidal habitat. Coal fired power stations also produce large quantities of ash and the developer has assumed that a use will be found for all of the ash produced by the plant. However, if this is not the case, it is likely that ash lagoons would be needed, resulting in further loss of important

habitat. After development is

years of development, most of the areas like Southannan Sands, proposed, have been lost from the Clyde forever, and the few that

where

this

remain

are

therefore a high priority for conservation. Inter-tidal habitats like service stations on a motorway for a huge range of ducks, geese

this and

are vital, acting rather like swans, which use them to

top up on vital energy during for wildlife in the whole of the

their long migrations. Clyde Estuary.

Southannan

Sands

is

one

of

the

best

areas

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