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
Ayrshire be lodging
Power has now a formal objection
submitted the in due course.
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.
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
therefore a high priority for conservation. Inter-tidal habitats like service stations on a motorway for a huge range of ducks, geese
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.