Grundon proposal for £100m Perth EfW blocked
27 November 2009
Perth & Kinross council has refused Grundon Waste Managements planning application for a £100 million energy-from-waste facility and is now seeking to revoke the outline planning permission it previously granted for the site.
The council's Development Control Committee rejected Grundon's plans this week (November 24) after following planning officers' recommendations to refuse permission due to concerns about the visual impact of the site on the surrounding area and the size of the proposed facility.
The council had already granted outline planning permission in 2006 for the development of a 75,000 tonne-a-year capacity treatment facility to be built on the Shore Road site in Perth by waste management firm Holden Environmental, which is partnering Grundon on the project.
However, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) raised fears in a letter to the council on November 12 that Grundon's proposals to build a larger, 90,000 tonne-a-year capacity energy-from-waste plant would lead to an "over-development" of the site.
Councillor Willie Wilson, convener of the Development Control Committee, said: "We have fully considered all aspects of this planning application. We have heard all the deputations who requested to speak at the meeting, and have decided to refuse this application."
Council officers will now prepare a report for the committee on the possible revocation of the earlier outline planning application, which is expected to be submitted to an early meeting of the full council - potentially on December 16.
However, if the council decides to revoke the outline permission but that move is opposed by Holden Environmental, it woulld then have to go to the Scottish Government to be able to revoke the permission.
Grundon said it was "disappointed but not surprised" by the council's decision to block its proposals, which has attracted opposition from local residents.
However, the waste management firm felt the council's decision came after SEPA "changed its position" on whether the site posed environmental or health impacts.
SEPA withdrew opposition to the proposals on October 12 but then wrote to the council on November 12 explaining it had objections relating to lack of information over the size of the site and how Grundon intended to overcome restraints caused by developing on a site earmarked for a smaller facility.
Bob Nicholson, director of estates at Grundon, said: "We are surprised by the fact that the grounds for refusal include the objections raised by SEPA in its November 12 letter, particularly as in the interim, we had not been asked to submit any additional information for SEPA to consider.
"We believe Grundon has been significantly disadvantaged by not having the opportunity to respond to these last minute SEPA objections."
The company claimed that it had voluntarily submitted an environmental impact assessment for the site, even though it had no legal obligation to do so.
Mr Nicholson added: "Our immediate reaction to the committee's refusal of the application was to appeal against the decision. Upon reflection, we will consider our position once we have seen the officer's report and following the council's full December meeting".