Kenyan judges have halted plans to construct the country’s first ever coal-powered plant near the coastal town of Lamu, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The license previously granted to Amu Power, the developer of the controversial Lamu Coal Plant, has been cancelled.
The National Environment Tribunal (NET) ruled that the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) issued the environmental impact assessment (EIA) license to Amu Power Company Ltd without following the law.
The sh 200 billion project was Kenya’s first coal-fired power plant. The tribunal faulted the project for omitting engineering plans and details of the plant from public participation. Moreover, the project was not consistent with the Climate Change Act.
Lamu island is a 14th Century idyllic tourist destination. Critics said the plant would have dire economic and health effects on locals as it would increase the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 700%. Environmentalists say the plant will pollute the air, and destroy mangroves and breeding grounds for five endangered species of marine turtles, fish and other marine life.
This momentous ruling is a major step toward a fossil free Kenya. The five-member tribunal ordered that a new environmental impact assessment should be undertaken to ensure proper public participation. Those defending the plan were given 30 days to appeal against the ruling.