SEPA investigating dust from Markinch biomass plant

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has launched an investigation after it received “a number of complaints” about dust from residents near RWE’s waste wood biomass plant in Markinch, Fife.

RWE's Markinch plant has a capacity of 450,00 tonnes per year of waste wood

SEPA explained that it undertook an investigation into the dust and took samples from the area which confirmed the material contained wood dust.

The Agency explained that while it is continuing investigations, it also found examples of non-compliance when it carried out an inspection at the site.

The spokesperson added: “Recommendations were made to reduce dust generation. We continue to urge anyone concerned about dust or other pollution to contact SEPA. People can report 24 hours a day, seven days a week online at or by calling the SEPA Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive, inhaling wood dust can create breathing problems such as Asthma. The health effects of breathing in dust can take many years to develop.


Wood dust can have long-term health impacts if inhaled (Picture: Shutterstock)

Opened in 2015, RWE said the biggest waste wood-fuelled plant in the country generates “green electricity for around 100,000 homes 24/7 and is a proud member of the local community”.

The company put the dust issues down to incoming fuel deliveries during hot weather, and pointed to the fact that the plant must comply with its Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Permit, issued by SEPA.

The spokesperson explained: “The Permit includes strict limits regarding emissions and dust. Particulate emissions from the plant are continuously monitored, and are typically up to 20 times lower than the daily average limit in the PPC permit.

“However due to recent long hot dry periods there has been some localised dust associated with incoming fuel deliveries, and we have been in contact with SEPA regarding this issue. To mitigate this issue strict dust management measures are implemented on site at all times. These include dust extraction systems, atomised water and fine mist sprays along with regular monitoring and cleaning of the site.”

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