20 August 2013

Scottish Government rejects Perth EfW plans

Proposals for a controversial 100 million energy-from-waste (EfW) incinerator on Shore Road in Perth have again been dashed after plans were rejected by the Scottish Government.

Grundon Waste Management, the company behind the plans, said it was disappointed by the Scottish Ministers decision, describing it as a missed opportunity for both Perth and Scotland.

An artist's impression of Grundon's proposed Perth facility

An artist’s impression of Grundon’s proposed Perth facility

Scottish Ministers yesterday (August 20) turned down Grundons application to the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) for the 90,000 tonnes-per-year capacity plant following recommendations made by Public Inquiry reporter Dannie Onn in a 68-page report released yesterday.

The Public Inquiry took place between November 26 and December 5 2012, after Grundon submitted an appeal against Perth & Kinross councils decision to reject plans for the plant in February 2012 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Scottish Ministers called in the planning decision on the proposed plant because of the significant public interest and potential environmental implications of the development proposal.

Both Perth & Kinross council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) had concerns that air and noise impacts had been underestimated by Grundon and that odour was still a potential problem. The Scottish Prison Service had also voiced concerns that noise and odour from the development could impact on inmates and staff at the nearby Perth prison.

As a result, the Public Inquiry reporter recommended on June 21 2013 that Grundons appeal should be dismissed and Scottish Ministers have now upheld this recommendation.

According to the report, the detailed measures for the control of noise, dust and other forms of potential pollution have not been satisfactorily addressed in the proposal at appeal.

Furthermore, it states that the urban location of the site is sensitive to the introduction of a large scale plant as the risk of harm to the amenity of those living nearby is greater than it would be with a smaller facility or a more open location.

‘We strongly believe this is a missed opportunity for both Perth and Scotland and we will now consider our position in terms of our next steps.’

Andrew Short, Grundon Waste Management estates director

Dannie Onns report states: It may be that a plant of the scale and type proposed could be shown to be acceptable, but the design before me has not evolved sufficiently to be sure that it could.

Grundon

However, Grundon said it was disappointed with the decision, as it had amended its application to address everything that had been asked of us in the DPEA Reporters conclusion on the previous appeal.

This included reducing the scale of the plants buildings to lessen the visual impact of the plant. The firm also argued that air quality and noise impacts from the facility would be minimal, while the plant had been designed to contain odours and to filter exhaust air.

Grundons estates director, Andrew Short, said: Taken together with all the additional information and technical assessments we produced, we were confident that the Scottish Ministers would recognise both the suitability and the sustainability of our proposals.

He said that the facility would have made a positive contribution towards meeting the Scottish zero waste to landfill targets while also making a significant contribution to the local economy in terms of wealth and job opportunities.

Mr Short added: We strongly believe this is a missed opportunity for both Perth and Scotland and we will now consider our position in terms of our next steps.

History

The council had already been granted outline planning permission in 2006 for the development of a 75,000 tonne-per-year capacity treatment facility to be built on the Shore Road site.

However, this decision was then reversed when the company submitted plans to build a larger, 90,000 tonne-per-year capacity energy-from-waste plant in November 2009. The company then submitted an amended proposal switching from incineration to an advanced gasification plant, which it said would reduce the potential visual impact of the facility on the landscape and visual amenity of the area.

Perth & Kinross council rejected Grundons planning applications due to concerns about its impact on the surrounding area in terms of noise, odour and air quality.

Commenting on yesterdays decision to dismiss Grundons appeal, Perth & Kinross council leader, Councillor Ian Miller said: I welcome the Scottish Ministers decision regarding Grundons appeal.

This is very good news for Perth and its environment. We will await the detailed findings from the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals with interest.”


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