Greenpeace boat barred from Leith

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Greenpeace's Esperanza is due in the Forth this week to support a campaign against plastic litter in the sea but it's been told it can't dock in Leith

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7th November 2016 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

A famous Greenpeace boat due to arrive in Scotland’s Firth of Forth on Wednesday has been barred from docking in Leith.

The Esperanza, which is the largest boat in the Greenpeace fleet, is coming to Scotland to support a campaign to reduce plastic pollution in the sea.

However, Forth Ports, which runs Leith Port, has told the campaign group it cannot dock as the port is already full.

It’s bizarre to be stonewalled like this when we’re coming to highlight an issue of real concern to the public and critical important to our environment - Willie Mackenzie

The campaign group is known for its controversial direct action protests and another of its ships, Arctic Sunrise, has been banned from the Clyde after it was used to protest against nuclear weapons. It has also been involved in direct action campaigns against Edinburgh’s Cairn Energy.

However, on this occasion the group says no direct action is planned and it simply wants to show its support for the Scottish Government’s plans for a deposit and return scheme for plastic, glass and metal containers for soft drinks, water and alcohol. The idea is that retailers would pay people 10 or 20p per item returned.

Forth Ports claims it has offered the Esperanza the option of docking at Granton instead of Leith, however the campaign body denies it has received any such offer.

Greenpeace’s Willie Mackenzie said: “It’s bizarre to be stonewalled like this when we’re coming to highlight an issue of real concern to the public and critical important to our environment.

“We were planning on docking the Esperanza in Leith to host an event with MSPs, campaigners and scientists to highlight the impact which a bottle deposit return scheme in Scotland could have in reducing plastic pollution in our oceans. But we hit a bit of a bottle-neck with the Forth Ports authority”.

According to Greenpeace, 12 million tonnes of plastic litter is being dumped into the sea every year.

A spokesman for Forth Ports said: “Leith is one of the busiest ports in Scotland and currently we have no berths available which are large enough to accommodate this vessel.

“We have offered Greenpeace an anchorage for the Esperanza in the River Forth, which would give them access to Granton Harbour.”