Church of Scotland opposes coal-fired power station

By agency reporter
19 Aug 2010

One of the most senior Church of Scotland ministers has written to the Scottish Government, urging it to consider carefully the impact plans for a new power station that will, the Kirk claims, undermine the Scottish Government’s plans to reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint.

A planning application to develop a coal-fired power station at Hunterston, North Ayrshire, has been submitted for consideration with a closing date of 20 August 2010 for objections.

The Rev Ian Galloway, Convenor of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, has written on behalf of the Kirk, formally objecting to the development of the proposed coal fired power station at Hunterston, asking Holyrood to reject outright the planning application made by Ayrshire Power.

Mr Galloway is backed by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev John Christie, in objecting to the new power station.

Ayrshire Power Ltd lodged a planning application for an 1852 MW coal and biomass-fuelled power station at Hunterston on 2 June 2010, with the Scottish Government.

The Kirk has concerns about the likely increase in carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the power plant. The church believes that any such increase in emissions will make the national targets of Scotland’s Climate Change Act difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

Mr Galloway said: “We are also aware that local congregations have concerns about the implications of the proposed development and its impact on the local environment."

He added: “We share those concerns and support the objections of local communities but in our letter of objection, concentrate on the national implications.”

The Church of Scotland is opposed to the proposed development set out in the planning application on the grounds that:

* Any new coal fired power station without a proven and effective system of carbon capture and storage fitted at the outset, will undermine the Scottish Government’s plans to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.

* The technology is not yet sufficiently well developed or proven to deliver carbon capture and storage in plant of this size; and

* The power station would not only be a huge setback for the Scottish Government but would undermine the role [of] all those individuals and communities across Scotland who are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint.

In 2009 the Church and Society Council’s report to the General Assembly noted climate change as being amongst the most important challenges facing humankind.

It stated: “The Church of Scotland is concerned that climate change poses a serious and immediate threat to people everywhere, particularly to the poor of the earth; and that climate change represents a failure in our stewardship of God’s creation. We accept the need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases urgently to avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change and to promote a more equitable and sustainable use of energy.”

In tackling the challenge of climate change, the Church of Scotland is active in a number of areas. It assists congregations in helping them to reduce their carbon footprint both in their church buildings and their lives.

The Church of Scotland, the country's largest Presbyterian denomination, is a supporter of Eco-Congregation Scotland, a Scottish charity with over 250 congregations committed to taking action to care for the earth.

The Kirk also plays a key role in the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition comprising 60 organisations representing 2 million people across Scotland.

[Ekk/3]

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