US firm planning £65m energy plant near Bathgate

Bathgate councillor Willie Boyle (foreground) says TransAct have lots of work to do. Picture: TSPL

Bathgate councillor Willie Boyle (foreground) says TransAct have lots of work to do. Picture: TSPL

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AN American power company has revealed plans to build a massive new £65 million energy plant in the Lothians.

The Texas-based TransAct Energy Corp announced it is seeking permission for the development of a 500-tonne per day processing plant near Bathgate, in West Lothian.

The exact location for the factory is not yet known, but the firm said it was looking to develop its plans with West Lothian Council.

Council and environment officials said they had been left in the dark over the “speculative” proposal.

TransAct Energy Corp chief executive Rod Bartlett said in a statement: “Upon completing several engineering tasks for European operations we will file our permits and permissions applications.

“We look forward to working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and the West Lothian Council to bring the future of waste management to this community.”

The sustainable energy company aims to use new technology to transform carbon waste into recyclables and zero-emission fuels. An agreement has been signed with Bradford-based Malcolm Brown Ltd to supply prepared municipal solid waste to the new plant.

Sepa said it had told TransAct the firm would need a pollution prevention and control licence to run an energy-from-waste plant in Scotland.

A spokeswoman added: “No application has been received from the company to date and no information has been provided on the size and scale of the proposed development.”

Bathgate ward councillor Willie Boyle said TransAct had lots of work to do before the plans could be taken seriously.

He said: “There hasn’t been a planning application put in. Before they could do anything like that, at the very minimum they would need to apply for planning permission and a Sepa licence and that would take them months. There’s serious hoops to jump through.”

The plant would deliver a major jobs boost to West Lothian in the wake of the Hall’s of Broxburn meat-processing plant shutting its doors earlier this year.

About 1700 jobs were lost when Dutch owners Vion closed the factory for the final time.

Politicians had previously warned the shutdown would feel like a pit closure, predicting a devastating effect on 
both the workforce and ­community.

West Lothian Council announced last month that it intended to build hundreds of council homes in Broxburn as part of a £54m recovery plan to help the town recover from the Hall’s closure.

Three jobs fairs have been held since the shutdown announcement late last year in efforts to help axed staff to find work.

A council spokesman said: “We are aware via press reports of a proposal to develop a large scale waste management facility in West Lothian, but we have not been approached by the company at this time.”