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RSPB Scotland objects to plan to destroy wildlife site at Hunterston

Last modified: 19 October 2012

Redshank wading in lagoon

Image: Steve Round

RSPB Scotland has expressed serious concern about the latest plan that could lead to the destruction of a protected, nationally important, wildlife site at Hunterston in North Ayrshire.

The wildlife conservation charity has objected to North Ayrshire Council’s modified Local Development Plan, which earmarks 63% of the Portencross Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest for development.  If adopted by the Council in its current form, the wetland area could be built on- destroying a vital feeding ground and habitat for wintering birds.

The site was recently threatened by proposals to build a massive coal-fired power station on the wetland area.  Over 20,000 people objected to the proposals and North Ayrshire Council responded to local and national concerns by voting to oppose the coal plant themselves.  The proposal became the most unpopular in Scottish planning history before the developers Ayrshire Power finally scrapped the plans in June this year. 

RSPB Scotland is calling for the Plan to be amended so that development is accommodated without damaging the sandflats and mudflats that are so valuable to wildlife.  

Zoe Clelland, RSPB Scotland’s Senior Conservation Officer for Central Scotland, said: “It is alarming to see this important wildlife site is still ear-marked for development. North Ayrshire Council made the right decision in turning down the proposals for a coal-fired power station and it’s crucial that this success is built upon rather than destroyed.

“There is potential to accommodate significant development on the existing site at Hunterston without destroying a protected wildlife site. This would help deliver sustainable development and economic growth.  North Ayrshire Council should amend their plans and show that the area is open for business and encouraging of new development but not at any cost to the Ayrshire environment.”

The consultation on the modified Local Development Plan closes Friday, October 19. For information on how to respond, please visit:

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