MSP Wants Oil Rig Concerns to be Listened to
Green MSP, Ross Greer, has written to Government agencies asking them to listen to the concerns of communities around Hunterston after a licence application was submitted to allow the decommissioning of oilrigs near to a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Peel Ports were given planning permission by North Ayrshire Council in spring this year, despite concerns that the council had not required a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and there being clear impacts on the Southannan Sands Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). At the time, the council claimed that concerns about pollution from the operation were the responsibility of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), the Scottish Government agency whose licence is required for the decommissioning facility to operate. A licence for dredging work necessary to the decommissioning is also required from Marine Scotland, another Scottish Government agency.
A licence application was submitted to SEPA for a Waste Management Licence on 4th October, but SEPA have confirmed to Ross Greer that, when they consider the evidence, the only consultees will be North Ayrshire Council and the Health and Safety Executive, not local residents or conservation groups. Ross has also written to Marine Scotland asking what provisions have been made for consultation.
Ross Greer, Scottish Green MSP for the West of Scotland commented:
“While decommissioning oil rigs is both essential to tackling the climate crisis and to job creating in Scotland, there’s nothing green about doing that without properly assessing the impact on the local environment, not least when it’s a recognised ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’. It is simply unacceptable to hold a ‘consultation’ that does not consult the local community or relevant conservation groups.
“Residents have written to me with very real concerns about the environmental impact of dredging, noise disturbance and the visual impact of bright lights after dark and of course the severe risk of pollution getting into the air and the Clyde and damaging the health of people and wildlife. At first, the council told them that these are not relevant, and now SEPA are not asking for residents’ views.
“I’ve already had a response from the Scottish Government giving reassurances that required steps will be taken to prevent damage to the environment, but a full assessment must include the views of those who know the area best - the local residents.
“I’ve written to SEPA and to the Scottish Government to outline the concerns of constituents and would encourage people to contact SEPA via their website at www.sepa.org.uk and Marine Scotland at email@example.com, demanding that their views are taken into account.”