The local RSPB group has raised concerns about proposals for a visitor centre made by Peel Ports in their Hunterston Parc masterplan.

When the Hunterston Ore Terminal was built between 1974 and 1979, a lagoon and bird sanctuary were developed to the north of the site.

This has been mostly inaccessible to the public however, and the new plan developed by owners Peel Ports in consultation with the public and other groups could see a visitor centre on the site, enabling access to the bird sanctuary.

However, the North Ayrshire RSPB have raised concerns about airborne dust in relation to a possible cement factory on the site, and also about how the cooling system in a power station will affect the local marine environment.

Feedback from the group also said that access to the lagoon must be improved if a visitor centre is to be a reality, as the current system is only suitable for small groups of visitors.

RSPB Scotland added: “We would in principle support the proposal for a visitor centre to showcase the wildlife, but would question whether it would attract sufficient numbers of people to justify the investment and suggest that there may be other more appropriate ways of making the site more accessible.”