Save the Firth of Clyde "No Way Without An EIA"

We are Friends of the Firth of Clyde and we firmly believe oil rig decommissioning would put our beautiful coast in danger.

Let's say... "NO WAY WITHOUT AN EIA"

The Southannan SSSI MUST stay


It's not too late... 
Please help us to raise money for professional and legal expenses to fight this potential disaster from happening.

Oil companies, by their own admission, have stated that decommissioning will result in the release of heavy metals, radioactive metals and asbestos.  They also acknowledge the significant noise impact to residents generated from the dropping and loading of metal.

Projects of this magnitude are required to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), but we believe that North Ayrshire Council's (NAC) decision to grant planning permission to Peel Ports without an EIA breaches several Scottish and EU planning and environmental laws and we desperately need legal advice in aiding us to challenge this planning decision. 

Our famous bilingual dolphin Kylie is at serious risk not to mention the damage that the decommissioning will do to local residents and the tourist industry.

With the exception of third world countries it is unheard of that a marine scrapyard of this magnitude would be located so close to a community.  Indeed Shell has stated that their reason for choosing the ABLE yard in Teeside for the decommissioning of Brent was because it was not located near a community. 

Support our action against oil rig scrap yard on the Clyde

The Scottish Government are heavily investing in leisure, recreation and tourism and are also heavily promoting keeping our waters clean through minimum waste to our marine environment.  Why then, are they being such hypocrites and benevolent to an industry that will have the opposite result to the government’s own policy?  North Ayrshire Council are investing in Making Waves, The Perfect Stage Tourism action plan.   Why are they being so contradictive by supporting the decommissioning of oil rigs right in the heart of their biggest tourist area.  Millport was named top town in Scotland.  Does that not count for something?

The irreversible negative impact this notoriously polluting activity will have on our landscape, environment, community, tourism and wildlife is deeply concerning.  The visual impact of such massive structures will dominate this scenic area day and night. The noise, gaseous and liquid emissions will cause pollution which will greatly affect the people living in the area and disrupt the entire ecosystem, especially the marine mammals: seals, porpoises and our famous bilingual television star dolphin called Kylie which all live just off the site. 

The noise will be loud.  Very loud… and relentless.  Steel on steel banging will be consistent throughout each day and the toxic materials that will be released into the atmosphere will include:-

•       Asbestos

•       Zinc anodes

•       Flame retardants, for example brominated flame retardants

•       Diesel

•       Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

•       Phthalates (plasticisers in flooring and cables)

•       Hydraulic oil, grease and lubricants

•       Isocyanates from polyurethane paints

•       CFC and HCFC gases released from cooling agents

•       Chloroparaffins

•       Mercury

•       PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

•       PFOS (perfluorooctyl sulphonate)

•       PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

•       Organotin compounds from anti-fouling systems


NAC passed an application approving oil rig decommissioning without demanding an EIA to ensure that all risks to the environment were taken into consideration.  Peel Ports have managed to circumvent EIA Legislation by deploying the practice known as ‘Salami Slicing' which in this case has allowed planning permissions to be quietly approved without reasonable evaluation.    

How did it all come about?  Through ‘delegated powers.’   This undemocratic system was originally designed to avoid clogging up council planning meetings with applications for domestic house extensions, greenhouses and garden sheds.  It has now resulted in civil servants, taking unchallenged and often unlearned, decisions of critical importance and who will simply move on elsewhere when these decisions ultimately become environmental disasters and here is a classic example of this. Under delegated powers, NAC decided to allow for the amendment of the local development plan, to permit decommissioning of oil rigs at Hunterston, without even insisting that the proposed developer submit an Environmental Impact Statement!  We believe this is a manifest breach of EIA legislation.
Research carried out by Fairlie Coastal argues that NAC have neglected to appraise themselves of real planning jurisdiction boundaries or seaward limit of the SSSI Site. Instead they seem to be relying on developers' documents, incorrect baseline datum, out of date GIS shapefiles and failing to comprehend that dynamic maritime boundaries actually change over time. We believe this constitutes a breach of Nature Conservation Scotland Act 2004.
Claims by politicians that the proposal will boost the local economy and jobs are dismissed by the community as completely false.  Dales Voe in Shetland named as the ‘optimal location for an ultra-deep water decommissioning port’ has created just 30 jobs.  SNP Minister for Energy, Paul Wheelhouse is quoted as saying [it is a] "fantastic opportunity to secure Scotland and the UK's foothold in decommissioning and develop a steady local workforce instead of relying on outside contractors.  But with 30 to 40 employed dismantling Buchan Alpha at peak and similar numbers expected for Ninian North, decommissioning will bring only a modest boost to local employment.”

Wheelhouse added that there were “322 topsides being decommissioned in the UK alone and a substantial number would require a deep water facility. There would be nothing to stop the Dales Voe operation bidding for Norwegian work too.”  Why then do we need to invest millions of tax payers money to make changes to a site that has so much vehement opposition and the potential for catastrophic effect on the environment?  We have asked these and similar questions repeatedly, but so far politicians have refused to provide an answer.

In 2017, similar to previous years, Peel Ports reported a group EBITDA of £220million (profit), paid its directors £42million in dividends, yet only paid £300k in tax (1% of EBITDA). (UK Corp tax is currently set at 20%).

On the 26th of October, Scottish Enterprise will present their due diligence to their board.  If the board approve, a grant of 10 million pounds will be awarded to Peel Ports to carry out significant updates to the facility in order to decommission oil rigs. (Now remember they have only paid £300k in tax out of £220m of sheer profit!)

As a small community we are fighting against big business that has the backing of the Scottish Government.  £240k of public money has already been given to Peel Ports to conduct a feasibility study of their own site!  We are in no doubt that a manifest breach of EIA legislation as well as a breach to the Nature Conservation Scotland Act 2004 has occurred, but we need to raise the money for legal fees to fight our case.

Do you appreciate the beauty of this idyllic coastline and want to preserve the environment for your grandchildren?

Do you object to your hard earned money being used for the benefits of big business that pay very little tax?

Are you fed up of politicians not being held to account?

Are you are tired of the incompetence of local government?

Do you want to ensure that our elected officials act with integrity?

…  then please, give generously.  We can’t do it without you. Thank you.


The Southannan SSSI MUST stay



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Fundraising team: Friends of The Firth of Clyde (3)

Rosie Heenan 
Fairlie, SCT
Rose Heenan 
Clare Baguley 
Team member
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