Hunterston coal fired power station – the court case

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power stationPeople living close to Hunterston are angry and frustrated at not being given the opportunity to respond to a proposal for a coal fired power station on their doorstep. The development was not included in the National Planning Framework until after the MAIN consultation process had finished in April 2008. Instead it first appeared in supplementary strategic environmental assessment consultation in September.

The community have been told the late addition of the development was made because of pressure from other unnamed stakeholders to include it after the consultation had finished.

Despite being faced with legal costs of over £100,000 if he loses, Marco McGinty from Largs has appealed for a judicial review of the plans on the grounds that the Scottish Government have not consulted the public according to standards required by European law and that assessments that were carried out did not adequately examine alternatives to a coal-fired power station.

Why is the court case important for democracy?

Currently the power station has ‘deemed consent’ because it is named as a national development in the National Planning Framework, a key Government strategic planning document.The developments still require a specific type of planning permission (in Hunterston’s case an Energy Consent) on which local people can comment, but this permission only concerns issues of design and siting rather than issues of principle. In other words, once a national development has been designated a planning application cannot be objected to on principle and local people can only affect what it looks like and the details of the proposal.

As a result of this many of the wider concerns that local people as well as environmental groups have about the power station such as carbon emissions and the untested nature of Carbon Capture technology are technically inadmissible in their written objections to the Energy Consents Unit during the consultation process. Their voice on the need for the development has effectively been silenced.

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More about the court case

The grounds of our Judicial review challenge are:

  • that the consultation procedure on the supplementary Strategic Environmental Assessment was so inadequate that it cannot be said to comply with Article 6.2 of the SEA Directive,
  • that the consideration of alternatives within the supplementary SEA insofar as it considers Hunterston is so flawed it breaches the Directive,
  • that the period within which to respond to the consultation paper was inadequate
  • and lastly that the method of advertising the supplementary SEA is a breach of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005.

Planning Democracy says “What kind of a system excludes people whose health and well being will be affected by a major development and doesn’t give them an opportunity to comment, because someone else with obviously greater strength of voice is allowed to bypass democracy”

NEWS on the Judicial REVIEW.

The case is due to be heard in November. We have had fantastic support from many other NGOs in Scotland who are keen to see Hunterston removed from the NPF and have managed to raise just enough money for the case however we remain £12,000 short and still require funds to help us put together our response. Please donate today>>

La Fondation pour une Terre Humaine logoThis action is supported by Humane Earth Foundation.

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