Incinerator gets the green light despite 20,000 objections - THE SCOTSMAN
THE construction of a controversial incinerator has been given the go-ahead by council planners - despite receiving around 20,000 objections.
The "gasification" plant at Dovesdale, Larkhall, was passed by South Lanarkshire Council yesterday as more than 50 protesters campaigned outside.
Scotgen, the firm behind the incinerator - which would generate electricity for the National Grid from the heat produced by burning rubbish - says the plant could create 50 jobs.
Local residents have raised concerns over toxic waste and road congestion, writing nearly 20,000 letters to the council's planning department. However, objections initially lodged by environment watchdog Sepa were later withdrawn.
The council said in a statement yesterday that the "lack of objection from the majority of statutory consultees, most notably, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa]", had been a factor in its decision.
Stewart Weir, spokesman for the Dovesdale Action Group, said: "The next stage is to work out why Sepa made certain recommendations, then withdrew them. We just don't know what the effect of the pollution from this plant would be on our families long-term. They call it a gasification plant, but it is essentially an incinerator."
He said the protesters would consider taking the £50 million development to a public inquiry - or potentially pursue legal action in the Court of Session.
"If there is a way we can object, we will," he said. "With their actions, in effect those councillors have said they will not listen to public opinion, and have also blatantly disregarded their own green-belt policy."
Aileen Campbell, SNP MSP for South of Scotland, added: "South Lanarkshire Council have ridden roughshod over their own green-belt policy, not to mention the opinion of the overwhelming majority of local residents who objected to this proposal.
"Hundreds of people from across the south of Scotland have told me they don't want this facility to be built, and I reflected that in my own objection."
Ian Conroy, operations technical support manager for Sepa's south-west region, said the watchdog would consider the plant for a Pollution Prevention and Control part A licence, which it would need to operate.
He added that Sepa had told South Lanarkshire Council it would accept the project only if it met six conditions, including meeting the Scottish Government's target on thermal treatment of municipal waste and preparing a noise management plan.
"This view does not mean that we are content with all aspects of the proposal, which is why we have highlighted six conditions, which we would want to see included in any planning consent that may be given," he added.
09 February 2011
By Jane Bradley