Ayrshire Power have categorically denied fears raised by Fairlie Community Council that their new coal power plant development could cause cancer.

Fairlie Community Council chairman David Telford pointed out that similar power plants around the world have produced harmful, potentially deadly effects into the atmosphere, and have called for the issue to be investigated as a matter of urgency.

Mr Telford said: “We are concerned about the effect that this proposed development would have on the human life around these parts.

“There is emerging evidence, world wide, of cancer pockets and birth defects arising as a consequence of the radionuclides (Uranium and Thorium) that are released by modern coal plants." Muir Miller, Project Director for Ayrshire Power, said: “ “The current UK standards of emissions control for coal-fired power stations mean that radiological emissions from a plant designed and operated to the current standards are miniscule.

“As far as emissions from the chimney at the proposed Hunterston facility are concerned, these would be tightly controlled under the terms of a PPC Operating Permit issued by SEPA. Ash and emissions controls in some countries operating coal-fired plants are not subject to the same high standards as in the UK.”