Concerns over the safety of marine wildlife and whether enough was being done to warrant their protection has been made by a local marine expert.

Fairlie Community Council asked Peel Ports - owners of the controversial construction yard site set for a major oil rig decommissioning site - for an environmental bond in relation to the site.

Peel Ports recently met up with Fairlie Community Council as their new oil rig decommissioning yard was discussed.

Andrew Hemphill, Port Director of Clydeport, stated that it was not in 'Peel Port’s interest to pollute and contaminate' as they have a long-term interest in the site and 'developing good relations with local communities'.

Peel Ports stated at the meeting that they were aware they needed to do a comprehensive marine mammal survey, and would do so once marine planning permission had been granted,

Community councillor David Nairn, of Clyde Mammal Marine Project, challenged this, as a thorough survey would take a considerable amount of time and said he believed the survey had to start immediately.

Peel Ports stated that they have already carried out a 'comprehensive desk top marine mammal survey' as part of their submission to Marine Scotland.

A Marine Scotland consultation is taking place at the Village Hall on 8th August from 2pm to 7pm in relation to the jetty extension at the construction yard site.

At the recent meeting, Peel officials reported that the two hopper cranes on the Hunterston jetty will be dismantled for scrapping and may take months depending on the weather.

The coal conveyor belt across the A78 will also be removed and this will involve temporary road closure in agreement with Transport Scotland. The railhead facility to the easy of the A78 will also be demolished when agreed with Network Rail.

At the meeting, the community council raised concerns re: current demolition of jetty equipment in relation to smoke, dust and debris from the jetty demolition polluting the waters and beach.

The company stated that the equipment was previously cleaned, however there may be small residues left on ledges etc, however the demolition should not cause high concentrations.

No work will start on the ‘marine yard’ until the Marine Scotland application has been completed. Planning permission states work will be 7 am to 10 pm, up to 7 days a week.

Caisson gate construction is due to begin in the ‘first quarter’ of 2019.

A range of industry is being looked into including train and carriage manufacturers from Europe considering setting up in Hunterston, Heathrow Airport third runway with modules for terminal built here and then shipped to Heathrow.

At the meeting Peel Ports stated that unless they have Marine Scotland and SEPA permission as well as NAC they would not progress the oil rig decommissioning project.

Fairlie Community Council raised concerns that Peel Ports have 'done the minimum to meet legal compliance' and that believe that North Ayrshire Council should have required a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Peel Ports Group Project Development Director Doug Coleman responded that they do what is necessary under the legislation but said that they have offered to look at surveys on air, water and mammals, which is ‘over and above’ what is required of the company.

Fairlie Community Council chairman Rita Holmes remarked that SEPA`s new regulations for licence/permit holders expected that developers/operators should strive to achieve more than the minimum requirements. Fairlie Community Council communicated to Peel that they hoped the company would uphold the ethos of this expectation.

At the meeting, Fairlie Community Council questioned CessCon's credentials as only registered as a UK company in January 2018. CessCon's promotional video was criticised as being promoted as 'done deal' by community councillors.

However, Mr Coleman of Peel Ports pointed out that Cesscon have many years plus experience of such operations in Norway which is ‘more highly regulated ‘than the UK, but only registered in UK in 2018.

Cesscon have an office in Hunterston ‘for marketing’ of their planned operation.

Further details on the meeting can be found at