Mixed fortunes for waste plant developments

Highlands Scottish_Borders_Council





Plans have been approved for a waste sorting plant near the Caledonian Canal in Inverness while proposals for a waste energy plant in Galashiels have been cancelled.

Highland Council had rejected the proposed waste transfer station on Carsegate Road next to the Muirtown Basin last year.

But Scottish ministers have given it the green light after an appeal by developers Munro Construction.

Objectors raised concerns that the plant would attract vermin and cause bad smells - claims the company denied.

The local authority said it was “very disappointed” by a government reporter’s decision to approve them on appeal and is now considering its next move.

Inverness Central councillor Donnie Kerr said: “I’m very disappointed for all the traders in the area who have consistently argued that this is a highly inappropriate development.

“The local members will be talking to the council’s legal team to see what can be done. I believe there are some areas where we can appeal and there may be alternatives routes we can take.

“We’ll need to look at the reporter’s decision in detail before deciding what can be done.”

Scottish Government reporter Martin Seddon overturned the committee’s decision, and said the concerns expressed by members could be mitigated.

The plans will allow almost 25,000 tonnes of rubbish a year to be transported to the building before it is sorted and moved to landfill and recycling centres.

Applicant Munro said the scheme would not cause problems for the local area.

It stressed that all waste would be stored inside a large shed to reduce smell nuisance.

The reporter’s decision can be appealed at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, but only on points of law.

Meanwhile, multi-million pound plans to build a plant which would produce energy from waste have been scrapped.

Scottish Borders Council wanted to build an “integrated waste management facility” at Easter Langlee near Galashiels.

But it has cancelled a £2.4 million contract with its project partner New Earth Solutions, a waste treatment developer.

The council said it made the decision after “significant changes” to Scottish waste policy and regulation.

It also claimed it had run into technological and funding problems.

At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council on Thursday, councillors unanimously approved a report recommending the termination of the contract.

Council leader David Parker said the council has not lost all its investment because some work has been carried out at the site which may be useful in the future.

He added: “We have also gained a lot of knowledge and experience around that issue but there will be a cost to bringing this contract to a conclusion.

“The important thing to remember is that this is an appropriate decision because had we signed a contract that had gone wrong in the future, that could leave a very big financial burden around the Borders’ council tax payers.”

He said a review of the council’s integrated waste management strategy would now be undertaken.

Darren Stockley, managing director of New Earth said: “New Earth was delighted to have been awarded the contract by Scottish Borders Council in 2011 and we have invested considerable resources in developing the project.

“We have worked closely with the council’s project team on delivering an innovative solution, but some of the challenges were taking too long to resolve.”

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