Kenya has been urged to halt construction of the country’s first ever coal-powered plant near the coastal town of Lamu, until an assessment is made of its environmental and cultural impact, in the latest setback to the $2bn project (£1.6bn).
Plans for the 981MW station, backed by a Chinese-led consortium, are in limbo after Kenyan judges revoked the environmental licence at the end of June. They ruled the authorities had failed to carry out a rigorous environmental assessment and to inform local people of potential impacts.
Environmental campaigners – who took Amu Power and the Kenyan National Environment Management Authority to court over the station – hailed the ruling as a victory for grassroots lobbying. They had argued that the adverse effect the plant would have on local fishermen and farmland had not been considered.The court ruled that the impact on locals and the environment had not been thoroughly assessed. Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA
Unesco’s World Heritage Committee, in a meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan this week, called on Kenya to revise the environmental assessments of the coal plant and to consider the potential impact of pollution on the “fragile” stone buildings of Lamu old town, a 14th-century tourist destination and world heritage site.
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