SNP COUNCILLORS HAVE indicated support for plans to establish ship to ship oil transfers on the Moray Firth – sparking anger from Green MSP John Finnie.
Mr Finnie has called on the SNP Government for a “clear statement” on the issue after he launched a public petition against the move by the Cromarty Firth Port Authority earlier this week.
The MSP said the petition has already received strong support from communities all along the Moray Firth and throughout the world – but was shocked when Councillor Maxine Smith, who is leader of the SNP Group on Highland Council, advised him that the application has the support of the SNP Scottish Government.
Councillor Smith also added that she had “no concerns at this time” regarding the application.
Mr Finnie said: “This is an astonishing position for the SNP, the Party of Government, to adopt in relation to a highly sensitive live application. I would urge the Scottish Government make clear its position on what role it has played in the application by the Cromarty Firth Port Authority.
“The communities who will be most affected should the licence be granted and there be any resulting spillages, are very clear that they have grave and pressing concerns.
“We cannot continue to promote Scotland globally for wildlife tourism if we permit activities which not only endanger any potential tourism revenues, but more fundamentally put in danger the health of the wildlife that sustains it. Our coastal communities deserve better.”
Campaigners in Moray have joined those throughout the Highlands in objecting to the plans, which they say raises serious issues over the future of native wildlife all along the Moray Firth.
A study on the environmental impact of spills from such a transfer, and is included in the Port Authority’s application to the Scottish Government for a licence, includes details of the localities that would face serious problems in the event of a spill – these include Findhorn, Burghead and Lossiemouth.