Viridor to forge ahead with waste incinerator plan

How the new energy for waste facility will look
How the new energy for waste facility will look

A decision to forge ahead with a £117 million waste incinerator near Dunbar has been condemned by the Green Party’s Westminster candidate.

Viridor has announced final approval for its energy recovery facility at its existing rail linked Oxwellmains waste treatment hub.

Part of a £1.5bn UK investment programme in ‘next generation’ recycling and renewable energy infrastructure, the latest announcement marks a £357m Scottish milestone for the business in the last 18 months.

The company, which secured planning consent for the site from Scottish Ministers in December 2010, and approval from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in 2011, made the decision to proceed following the discharge of planning conditions and funding approval from parent company, Pennon Group.

Along with Viridor’s investment in a Scottish £125m network of recycling-led infrastructure, the project will deliver a 300,000 tonnes per annum ERF which will divert post-recycling ‘residual’ waste from landfill.

The site will generate 30MW of base-load renewable energy direct to the grid – the equivalent of 39 wind turbines – enough to continuously power 39,000 homes. The plant will offer up to 10MW of heat available for local use.

Following a 36 month build programme, the facility is due for completion in December 2017.

In operation the ERF will support 55 full-time jobs, boosting the East Lothian economy by £10 million each year.

Colin Paterson, Scottish Regional Managing Director of Viridor, said: “With an ambitious zero waste agenda focused on waste reduction, reuse, enhanced recycling and recovering energy from what remains, Scotland is realising the value of waste as a resource, rather than something that is simply thrown away.”

Commenting on Viridor’s announcement that it was going to proceed with the “incinerator,” East Lothian Greens campaigner Jason Rose said: “We know that similar plants have suffered failures, leading to sanctions from regulators, and we know it will rely on plastics which when burnt have particularly harmful emissions.

“We also know similar plants have a history of odour complaints.”