We are supporting Scottish Natural Heritage's objection to a new development which could cause significant harm to the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area.
Port Babcock Rosyth have applied for a Harbour Revision Orders (HRO) to allow creation of a new container freight terminal on brownfield land at the Port of Rosyth, in Fife.
Although the new development would be on existing dockland, there would be a need for significant new dredging to allow access for container ships. This may impact on the neighbouring intertidal mudflats, important for a range of bird species and part of Firth of Forth Special Protection Area.
A public inquiry into the HRO was held in early 2012. Following publication of the inquiry report in March 2013, Scottish Ministers lodged a revised HRO for approval by the Scottish Parliament after the summer recess. However, no assessment has yet been made of the effects of dredging enabled by the HRO. The applicant and Scottish Minsters suggest that this can be deferred until further licences are applied for under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. In our view, this risks prejudicing objective consideration of future applications for marine licences, without which the terminal cannot operate.
Instead, we are calling on Scottish Ministers put the HRO on hold, until the applicant has provided adequate information on the dredging proposals. This should in turn allow a proper assessment to be made of the environmental impacts of the project as a whole, as required by European law.