Plan to bring rubbish from across Scotland to Lothian plant

If the incinerator is built, it could serve many Scottish councils
If the incinerator is built, it could serve many Scottish councils
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BOSSES at a planned new Lothians incinerator are looking to bring in and burn waste from across Scotland if they can get the go-ahead.

Waste management firm Viridor, which won an appeal to build a £200 million “energy from waste” incinerator near Dunbar, now hopes to remove a planning obstacle prohibiting importation of waste from outwith the five south-east council areas.

If granted, refuse from Fife, Stirling, Falkirk, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire could be burned at the proposed 300,000-tonne energy-from-waste plant in Oxwellmains.

Plans for the incinerator were initially rejected by East Lothian Council, but were resurrected and approved on appeal to a Scottish Government reporter in December 2010. Viridor said the removal of an “artificial” restriction from where non-recyclables can be received complied with the Scottish Government zero-waste policy, but objectors claim the firm is moving the goalposts.

The Scottish Government is aiming to have 70 per cent of all Scottish waste recycled or composted by 2025.

Martin Grey, Viridor’s Scottish communications manager, said: “With stringent Scottish zero waste targets applying to all waste streams, Viridor’s facility will play a vital role in recovering renewable energy from non-recyclable materials from the private, local authority and wider public sectors which would have gone to landfill.

“The application will seek to normalise waste reception criteria for the facility, which will sustainably manage residual waste from commercial and public sector partners, encompassing central Scotland.

“This is in line with both national policy and, indeed, reflects East Lothian’s own recognition of the inappropriateness of such boundaries.”

But Philip Banks, chair of a joint-action group opposed to the plant, said they always believed Viridor chiefs would have to import waste from elsewhere to “justify a plant that would be “economically viable”. “Various authorities have gone their own way and don’t wish to be involved in Viridor’s proposal,” he said.

“East Lothian Council has rejected this proposal unanimously from the outset. They have their own plans for waste disposal which do not include incineration so the Viridor proposal was never likely to meet the needs of the local area.”

He added: “The Scottish Government reporter designated the area from which the waste should be taken and we feel that Viridor have had their day in court.

“They got the decision in their favour and are now trying to change the rules to expand the area from which they can take waste, which the reporter did not deem to be acceptable.

“I think ultimately Viridor will decide not to proceed with the Oxwellmains site at all.”