Go ahead for massive Dunbar waste to energy plant

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Rubbish from around the country is set to be burned at a major new £177 million waste to energy plant near Dunbar.

A huge Viridor recycling facility has been given final approval to be built at the Oxwellmains waste treatment hub in East Lothian – giving a boost to the local economy of more than £10 million a year.

An artist's impression of the new facility. Pic: comp

An artist's impression of the new facility. Pic: comp

The ambitious plans are part of a £1.5 billion government drive to promote renewable energy, with the new plant promising to produce enough energy to power a large town.

The decision to proceed with the project is being announced today after funding approval was granted by Viridor’s parent company, Pennon Group.

In 2012, Viridor got the go-ahead from East Lothian Council to vary planning conditions to allow waste to be transported to the new Oxwellmains facility from anywhere in Scotland – a move that provoked anger from local protesters.

Construction for the new project will begin early next year, with the facility due to be completed in December 2017.

Viridor said at least 350 jobs would be created during the building of the complex, with the finished plant supporting 55 full-time positions.

Alistair Carmichael, Secretary of State for Scotland, hailed today’s announcement as providing “a welcome jobs boost for East Lothian”.

He added: “The UK Government’s plan for energy is to power growth and jobs as we build clean, secure electricity infrastructure for the future.

“This centre fits the bill and will help Scotland fulfil its enormous green energy potential powering thousands of homes, ensuring we are at the centre of the UK’s low carbon economy.”

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, insisted the new incinerator would reduce waste while generating vital energy. He said: “The Scottish Government has always made it clear that there can be a role for energy recovery from the limited amount of residual waste as landfill is phased out.

“This sits alongside our internationally ambitious targets for waste prevention and recycling as part of a suite of measures to make Scotland a greener, cleaner place to live.”

Colin Paterson of Viridor said: “I am pleased to announce final approval for our £177m Oxwellmains energy recovery facility project, our latest investment in Scotland’s green economy. With an ambitious zero waste agenda focused on waste reduction, reuse, enhanced recycling and recovering energy from what remains, Scotland is realising the value of waste as a resource, rather than something that is simply thrown away.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com