Leader: ‘Consultation is key as we move forward’

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THE Champagne corks will be popping in Leith at the news that the planned biomass plant is being scrapped, but maybe the celebrations should be put on ice.

The scheme was unpopular from the off, hardly surprising as it involved plans for a chimney stack twice the height of the Scott Monument.

There were also mounting questions over public health, with NHS Lothian calling for a full assessment of the impact, and the green credentials of biomass came under fire with the revelation in the Evening News that woodchip fuel would be imported from North America.

The 3800 people who took the time to lodge official objections will no doubt feel a huge sense of relief at the announcement by Forth Energy, but how long will it be before we have this debate again?

The company is still pursuing similar plants at Grangemouth, Rosyth, and Dundee and its press release spoke about withdrawing the “current” plans for Leith, adding that it would be reassessed in the future.

The Port of Leith seems destined to become a “hub” for renewable energy with or without biomass and you would not bet against there being many more controversial planning applications in the pipeline.

It is a difficult balancing act. Renewable energy of course must be pursued and as Scotland takes full advantage of its natural resources then we need to ensure that the Capital is at the heart of the plans and feels the economic benefit.

At the same time, any development must pay close regard to the views of local residents and businesses, to ensure that the transformation of the waterfront into a vibrant and attractive place to live is not wiped out.

Consultation and consideration is the key as we move forward so that sensitive and potentially lucrative development can happen without detriment to quality of life. When that happens, we can all get the champagne out.

Red card for thugs

it is deplorable that a ballboy was “caught in the crossfire” of missiles being thrown by football hooligans during Celtic’s visit to Tynecastle.

Fortunately on this occasion no one was seriously hurt after a barrage of coins were apparently thrown by both sets of supporters – but it could so easily have been different.

The nasty incident nevertheless spoiled what should have been a fantastic night for one city schoolboy.

We only hope the police can trace the idiot responsible so they can be banned from all football grounds for sake of the decent fans who make up the vast majority of supporters.