Controversial plans to build a container terminal at Rosyth have been given the green light by the Scottish Parliament.
Engineering group Babcock wants to build the £85 million Rosyth International Container Terminal on derelict land reclaimed for refitting Trident nuclear submarines, but the proposals have been criticised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and rival Forth Ports, which argues that the facility is not needed because of overcapacity in the industry.
During a brief debate at Holyrood last night, Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said there were “well-founded” concerns over capacity projections and the project’s environmental impact, while Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the site can only be accessed by road, highlighting local concerns over increased noise and traffic.
However, transport minister Keith Brown, who had refused to meet Forth Ports chief executive Charles Hammond to discuss his concerns, said existing rail infrastructure could be brought into use “if demand is forthcoming” and the development would lead to the creation of about 500 construction jobs.
MSPs voted 88 to 24 in favour of the plans, but Brown stressed that work cannot begin until ministers have approved a construction and environmental management plan, while Babcock also needs a licence from Marine Scotland to carry out dredging work in the Forth.
Holyrood’s infrastructure and capital investment committee approved the scheme last week, although some members warned traffic and jobs could shift away from Grangemouth.