Section 8 — Decommissioning

Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm (Navigation and Fishing) (Scotland) Bill: Final Stage – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:00 pm on 26th June 2003.

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Amendment 5 moved—[Mr John Home Robertson]—and agreed to.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

Amendment 2, in the name of John Home Robertson, is in a group on its own.

Photo of John Home Robertson John Home Robertson Labour

Amendment 2 will strengthen section 8 on decommissioning. After hearing evidence at consideration stage, the committee agreed to what is now section 8 to ensure that the Robin rigg site will be properly cleared whenever it is that the wind farm stops generating electricity. Our first report of 2003 goes into the subject in some detail. We wanted to ensure that the Solway firth will be fully returned to its original state when the turbines stop operating. In view of the circumstances that can arise when companies collapse or stop trading, section 8 requires appropriate insurance to be in force at all times and specifies the form that such insurance must take.

Amendment 2 will create a specific requirement that the site must be fully cleared, with all traces of the wind farm removed and with no residual impediments to navigation and fishing. The amendment will ensure that "decommissioning" cannot be interpreted as simply shutting down the operation of the turbines. I hope that all members will endorse this important safeguard to avoid the risk of leaving industrial dereliction in the Solway firth.

I move amendment 2.

Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative

Before calling the next speaker, I invite those members who require to have animated conversations to continue them outwith the chamber.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

I support amendment 2. I think that the only other engineering project of this scale to have taken place in the Solway firth was the erection of the Solway railway viaduct in the 1860s. Despite having been hardly used by trains for about 70 years, it was not removed until about the mid-1930s and in the interim caused some considerable interruption to navigation. Therefore, it is wise to provide for an obligation and a guarantee that industrial structures of this magnitude will be removed once they are no longer needed.

Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

I simply record that the Executive welcomes amendment 2. The provision is very much in line with the condition attached to the consent issued under the Electricity Act 1989 for the Robin rigg development.

Amendment 2 agreed to.