Councils ‘must notify Scottish government’ about EfW plants

The Scottish government announced yesterday (17 November) that planning authorities must temporarily notify ministers of any applications or decisions involving “incineration facilities”.

An aerial view of the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament, where Lorna Slater made her speech (picture: Shutterstock)

The announcement was made by circular economy minister Lorna Slater – who is a Green Party MSP – in the Scottish parliament.

Ms Slater also referenced plans for a Deposit Return Scheme with high expectations among lobby groups that this could be delayed to fit in with a pan-UK scheme. And, in England today Defra has confirmed the timelines for its consultation responses on policies relating to its Resources and Waste Strategy.

Defra says it received 2,590 responses to its consultation on a deposit return scheme (DRS) and 1,241 responses to its consultation on packaging responses. Analysis of feedback will be published “early next year”.


The Scottish minister’s announcement comes as part of a “review of incineration” by the Scottish government, which will be chaired by a former senior Defra official, Colin Church.

Lorna Slater announced that Colin Church will chair the government’s incineraiton review

Dr Church is now chief executive of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and chair of the Circular Economy Task Force, a business group convened by Green Alliance.

He previously held various director roles across Environmental Quality and Climate Change with Defra and the former Department of Energy and Climate Change and was also chief executive of CIWM.

This will ensure that ministers are abreast of any new planning applications

– Lorna Slater, circular economy minister

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater said: “We must find better ways to deal with the waste our economy is currently creating. That’s why I’m pleased that Dr Colin Church will bring his wealth of experience from across the waste and environmental sectors to our review on the role of incineration.

“To make sure that any plans are closely monitored while the review is ongoing, we have issued a temporary notification direction. This will ensure that ministers are abreast of any new planning applications or planning decisions relating to incinerators. It is temporary and does not in any way pre-empt the outcome of the review.”

Circular economy

Ms Slater also outlined other steps to “create a circular economy in Scotland”.

Lorna Slater addressed the Scottish Parliament in a statement on the circular economy (picture: Scottish Parliament)

While she was coy on the timeline for the rollout of a DRS in Scotland (see story), she did outline a number of initiatives.

This included the incineration review and a £7 million fund for seven local authorities to increase recycling, “while preparing for future developments, including Scotland’s DRS”.

This funding comes as part of Scotland’s £70 million recycling improvement fund.

Ms Slater added: “Our Recycling Improvement Fund will deliver one of the biggest investments in recycling in Scotland in a generation. It will make it easier for households to recycle more, and help to deliver the rates of recycling needed to meet Scotland’s ambitious climate targets.”


According to the Scottish government, there are six operational municipal waste EfW plants in the country.

Two of these are owned by Viridor in Dunbar and Glasgow, while the others are operated by FCC, Levenseat, MVV and Shetland council.


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