Time running out for views on revised Hunterston power plan

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TIME is fast running out for members of the public to give their views on changes to the proposal for a huge coal-fired power station at Hunterston – including an increase in the height of the chimney to two hundred metres, or 656 feet.

The consultation period on an addendum to Ayrshire Power’s proposal, advertised in The Buteman at the end of July, ends this Monday, August 29.

The company’s original proposal, for a 1,852MW power station fuelled by coal and biomass, with storage facilities, conveyor systems and a ‘demonstration carbon capture unit’ was altered in several areas in response to comments made by, among others, the NHS, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Among the changes made was an increase in the height of the proposed power station’s chimney stack from 155 metres to two hundred, to reduce the impact of emissions on public health.

Ayrshire Power, a subsidiary company of Peel Energy Ltd, which operates wind farms, biomass and renewable energy power plants and tidal energy facilities at a variety of locations throughout the UK, says the Hunterston facility could provide lower carbon energy for up to three million homes for decades to come.

But opponents of the scheme, led by the CONCH (Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston) campaign group, say it will harm wildlife and damage the environment.

Also included in Ayrshire Power’s plans, though not part of their planning application, is mention of proposals being developed by SSE Renewables, the renewable energy development division of Scottish and Southern Energy, to construct a National Offshore Wind Turbine Test Facility on part of the site earmarked for the power station.

These proposals, for which a five year period of consent has been given, would include up to three wind turbines, a meteorological mast, grid connection, access and a control and metering building.

While the two schemes would not be fully operational at the same time, according to the projects’ current timetables, Ayrshire Power says it is likely that between 2013 and 2017, the SSE project would be operational while the power station is being built.

Once all responses to the addendum have been received, the Scottish Government’s energy consents unit has four weeks to assess them and up to nine to compile its advice to the Scottish environment minister, Fergus Ewing, who will then decide whether to grant permission.

To view the amendments to the plan, go to the Ayrshire Power website (link to the right of this article)and click on ‘The Section 36 addendum has now been published’.

Representations can be made by email to hunterston@scot land.gsi.gov.uk or by post to The Scottish Government, Energy Consents Unit, 4th Floor, 5 Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw, Glasgow G2 8LU.