A BATTLE over the proposed building of a container terminal at Rosyth will be debated in the Scottish Parliament today after opposition MSPs forced a debate on the issue.
Campaigners trying to stop Babcock’s £85 million plan believe the Scottish Government has failed to properly investigate the full implications of the project.
Forth Ports chief executive Charles Hammond has been an outspoken critic of the terminal, arguing that it is not required because of existing overcapacity in the industry. His view on the capacity issue is supported by a number of other experts, including the head of the shipping line Maersk.
SNP MSP Angus MacDonald tabled eight questions to the Scottish Parliament and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds claims that granting a harbour revision order could be in breach of European law.
But Hammond’s attempts to overturn the Scottish Government’s support for the Babcock plan have failed to win support among ministers.
The Scotsman has learned that John Swinney, the finance secretary, has followed Keith Brown, the transport minister, by refusing to meet Hammond to discuss his concerns. Swinney wrote to Hammond a day before a Holyrood committee met on 25 September to consider written objections. There was no debate on the issue.
In his letter Swinney said: “While I note your continued objections to this proposal, the views of Scottish ministers have been made clear. I must therefore advise that I concur with Keith’s view that a meeting would not be appropriate at this stage.”
Today’s debate in Holyrood was approved by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body at a meeting yesterday.
A source close to the campaigners said: “Given that both John Swinney and Keith Brown have refused to meet Forth Ports on the subject, it’s good to see the opposition have succeeded in ensuring that the issue is going to receive a proper airing in the Scottish Parliament.”