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Time-line: the rise and demise of coal-fired plans at Hunterston


And, now, for the geeky amongst you…

I didn’t quite believe we’d been fighting this proposal for five years. But, I went back through my files and it’s true. So, here’s my handy guide to the rise and demise of coal-fired plans at Hunterston:

November 2008 – Denmark’s Dong Energy, announces Hunterston, in North Ayrshire, as the preferred site for a new coal-burning power plant as part of a joint venture company with Peel Energy.

January 2009 – NASA scientist Dr James Hansen calls on Scotland to abandon plans to allow new coal-fired power stations to be built.

June 2009 – MSPs unanimously support Scotland Climate Change Bill – the strongest piece of climate legislation anywhere in the world.

July 2009 – “The Power of Scotland Renewed” report published (by FoE Scotland, WWF Scotland, WDM Scotland and RSPB Scotland) shows that by 2030 renewable energy could meet between 60 per cent and 143 per cent of Scotland’s projected electricity demand

WWF joins protest against Hunterston coal-fired power stationWe joined many other in the protest against Hunterston coal-fired power station outside North Ayrshire Council © WWF

September 2009 – Papers are lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh asking for a judicial review of the Hunterston plans after claims that the Scottish Government did not consult on the proposals, in line with European law.

October 2009 – E.ON announces it is shelving coal-fired power plans at Kingsnorth in Kent.

October 2009 – Dong Energy announces it is pulling out of the plans. The remaining partner, Peel Energy, vows to continue with the project.

March 2010 –  Peel Energy lodges its initial plans for Hunterston with the Scottish Government.

March 2010 – MSPs vote 66-26 for the Scottish Parliament to reject plans for a coal-fired power station at Hunterston.

June 2010 – Peel Energy submits a full planning application.

June 2010 – WWF and other groups pledge tens of thousands of pounds to help prevent the collapse of a legal challenge into the Hunterston proposal.

August 2010 – Having been mobilsed by WWF, almost 10,000 people from 100 different countries send letters of objection to the scheme. By the end of the month, thanks to the efforts of other groups the number of objections swells to 14,000.

October 2010 – Scotland’s two leading environmental agencies – SEPA and SNH – raise serious concerns about the Hunterston proposal.

October 2010 – “The Power of Scotland Renewed” report published (by FoE Scotland, WWF Scotland and RSPB Scotland) Scotland could phase out all fossil fuel and nuclear power by 2030, maintain a secure electricity supply and generate significant revenue from renewable exports.

October 2010 – WWF launch financial appeal to help fight the Hunterston proposal.

Protest on the beach near Ayrshire against the proposed Hunterston power stationProtest against the proposed - and defeated - plans for Hunterston power station © RSPB

September 2010 – WWF joins RSPB other groups to create a giant ‘Stop Hunterston’ protest image in sand on a local beach in Ayrshire.

November 2010 – A judicial review begins at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

December 2010 – WWF joins with other NGOs to organise a ‘Stop Hunterston’ roadshow across North Ayrshire.

May 2011 – A SNP majority government elected on a manifesto commitment to ‘”No energy need for additional thermal generation plants.”

July 2011 – Peel Energy re-submits an amended planning application, which includes adding an extra 45 metres to the chimney stack to help reduce pollution. WWF slams the application for being full of “school boy errors”.

October 2011 – The public consultation into the Hunterston plans ends – with 22,000 objections; WWF and others give evidence to special session of North Ayrshire Council; and campaigners lose their legal challenge after a judge rules that campaigners did not have grounds to block the plans.

November 2011 – Councillors in North Ayrshire vote to reject scheme, forcing plans to go Public Local Inquiry.

March 2012 – WWF welcomes the publication of the Scottish Government’s energy policy statement, which confirms plans for 100% renewable energy by 2020 are achievable and undermines the need for new coal

March 2012 – North Ayrshire votes to remove its support for a new coal-fired power station from its Local Development Plan

March 2012 – WWF launches a national letter writing campaign aimed that the owner of Peel Energy, urging him to drop the Hunterston plans.

June 2012 – Peel Energy announces it is withdrawing its planning application for a power station at Hunterston.

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