JR on Coal Consultations

Local pressure group, Communities Opposed to New Coal at Hunterston (or CONCH) are to launch a legal challenge to plans for a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston. The judicial review of the plans is to be brought 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.

The campaigners claim that the Scottish Government have failed to comply with their obligations under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and the European Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Directive 2001/42).

Maggie Kelly, of CONCH and a local resident, said: “The proposed power station would have a devastating impact on our community, damaging our health, our livelihoods and destroying the local environment. It would also mean unnecessary and damaging increases in Scotland’s CO2 emissions leading to further climate chaos which will affect us all: across Scotland and globally. Yet under the National Planning Framework, we have been denied the opportunity to object to this major development.”

Hunterston coal fired power station was a late addition to the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) and was first mentioned four months after the main consultation was closed. As a result the public were unaware that this major development was proposed until it was too late to comment. Once developments are named in the NPF it is almost impossible for people to object to them. People can influence details such as the design and landscaping when the application goes in, but basically the presumption is that the development will go ahead.

According to The Guardian the campaigners are to be represented by the Environmental Law Centre Scotland Limited, who appear to be hosted by Jon Kiddie’s Renfrewshire Law Centre (the law centre formerly known as Paisley) and about which I know nothing else.

Still, the fight seems a good one and therefore, good luck to all concerned.

Posted on Absolvitor: Scots Law Online.

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