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An STUC press statement issued on July 5th outlines their support for plans to build a new coal-fired power station at Hunterson, angering local residents and community-based campaign CONCH. This brings the list of supporters of this power station to two – multi-billion pound Peel (owners of Ayrshire Power) and the STUC.

Hunterson coal-fired power station, if built, will be fed largely on coal from Colombia, where a long history of poor working conditions, attacks on unions, murder of union activists and the extermination of communities on mine land has been well documented. How the STUC can show this complete lack of solidarity towards Colombian workers and communities surrounding open cast mines is beyond belief.

The press statement says:

“The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) firmly believes that clean coal technology, in which Scotland is strong, is an essential part of a future, low-carbon energy mix, both nationally and globally… As we said when this proposal was first put forward, we believe that Scotland needs new generation from all sources – renewables, nuclear and clean coal – if we are going to meet the energy challenges of coming decades.”

Given that there is no such thing as clean coal, it’s hard to see how Hunterston coal-fired power station can possibly be an essential part of a future full of energy challenges. Nuclear and fossil-fuel power are major parts of the problem, and not part of a solution.

It continues:

“So long as the Hunterston proposals conform to the highest prevailing standards at every stage, they can play an important part in meeting Scotland’s energy needs.”

Again, there are no adequate standards concerning coal-fired power stations as the technology to reduce their carbon emissions is decades away. Hunterston “conforming to standards” cannot contribute towards creating a low-carbon economy or reducing CO2 emissions. It is widely known that Scotland can meet its energy needs through renewables alone, and that mega-projects such as Hunterston will produce power for export. There is no need for a new coal-fired power station to meet Scotland’s energy needs.

And finally:

“It is also essential that, for environmental and economic reasons, the development uses indigenous Scottish coal, thereby supporting other Scottish jobs and communities.”

The STUC should know full well that the only reason Peel want to build their power station at Hunterson is due to the Clydeport coal terminal next to it, which it also owns. Hunterston will be entirely fed on imported coal, from Colombia and other places such as Russia and South Africa. Indigenous coal, as is proven by the huge community opposition to coal mines and power stations in Scotland, is bad for communities, environmentally disastrous and provides fewer and fewer jobs as the industry cuts out workers with increasing mechanisation.

CONCH is urging its supporters, especially those in trade unions to lobby the STUC to get them to reverse their position. You can email your concerns to kbuchanan@stuc.org.uk or phone the person responsible for STUC’s decision Stephen Boyd on 0141 337 8100.

Objections to Hunterston coal-fired power stations need to be in by 20th August – here’s how to object.


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