A campaign group's bid to persuade North Ayrshire Council to propose a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the Peel Ports Hunterston oil rig decommissioning site has been knocked back.

Campaigners also called upon local authority planners to oppose Peel Ports Waste Management Licence application to environmental regulators SEPA.

However, a vote was carried out by the planning committee of seven votes to two to endorse the licence with specific conditions.

At last Wednesday's meeting at the council chambers, Caroline De Jong-Briggs, representing the Friends of the Firth of Clyde campaign group: "This is an application that requires people to be stand up and counted and members of Fairlie Community Council, Friends of the Firth of Clyde, and members of the public are present at the planning meeting to show the strong feeling we have.

"We ourselves have experts marine biologists, PHD scientists, safety managers business leaders, and have been neighbours to the applicant for many years, and we have severe anxiety over health, safety and environmental record.

"We have also spent many hours covering the EIA regulations and have had consultations with SEPA, Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, and we have met council chief executive Craig Hatton.

"This project is the the most important and complex planning application.

"The applicants have very limited to know experience on decommissioning and they are proposing an open port arrangement which means that they will sub contract all the activities, it is not clear who the sub contractor will be.

"There is zero reference in the licence application as to how they would manage these sub contract activities, or the risks associated with them,

"This zone is surrounded by the SSSI, the marine protected shellfish, we have European protected porpoises and a dolphin.

"Until this licence was submitted, did NAC really understand the toxic natures - radioactive wastes, CFCs, and asbestos.

"In terms of HSE risks, it is high risk activity with a visual and noise risk to the local environment,

"There is conflicting responsibilities and overlapping in the agenda of all those regulating authorities, and this is a fast evolving industry where regulation is frantically trying to be put in place to manage all the risks associated with it."

Campaigners also pointed to a 'different geographical zone' being used and there have been significant changes since the council's original screening opinion.

However, planning committee chairman Tom Marshall said that the decision on the environmental impact assessment had been taken months ago, and would not be re-assessed.

Peel Ports representatives attending the meeting said that they were not prepared to discuss the issues raised by the campaign group, and denied an issue raised that certain dangerous substances in the waste management licence should not have appeared in the licence application, and stated that the substances had been discussed and consulted upon with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Independent councillor Robert Barr agreed with the campaigners and said there was something lacking from the application which had 'too many grey areas'.

However, another independent councillor Robert McNicol said he believed the council conditions adequately covered any concerns, and said: "I can't see any reason to go against it."

Arran Conservative councillor Timothy Billings, vice chair of planning, also raised road concerns in relation to transportation of materials, and praised the work carried out by the Firth of Clyde campaign group for their diligent work in the campaign.

And planning chief Jim Millar said that there was 'definitely a case for a strengthening of the wording' for the licence application, and some of the matters brought up by the campaign, would be used in the council submission.

The vote was taken by NAC planning committee that the council would have no objection to the license, provided that the proposals to utilise Hunterston Coal Jetty are omitted from the license and that SEPA is satisfied that the limits set for any relevant discharges to air, land and water would be protective of the environment, with other conditions in relation to noise limitation, and road use for any vehicles exporting waste materials subject to a routing agreement.