SIR, - Through its current planning application 12/00263/PM, Viridor is seeking to remove a key condition from their permission to construct a waste incinerator at Oxwellmains, Dunbar.
When the government appointed reporter Scott Ferrie overruled the unanimous decision of East Lothian’s planning committee in 2010, he restricted the source of waste to East Lothian, Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Borders.
That area, argued Viridor and SEPA, would yield sufficient waste. Mr Ferrie rejected East Lothian’s claim that it would not.
In giving his reasons for his decision, Mr Ferrie devoted a third of his report to the need for the incinerator and its location. A key part of his reasoning was whether the site satisfied the ‘proximity principle’, which highlights the need to treat and/or dispose of wastes in reasonable proximity to their point of generation to minimise the environmental impact. He concluded that it did.
He conceded that Oxwellmains was a fair distance from the centre of the source of waste and that areas to the west and north of the area might be better sending it elsewhere. But nowhere else was ready to receive it. And so he individually overturned the decision of our elected representatives.
Neither in 2012 is Viridor ready! And now it seems the area will not yield enough waste to satisfy their 300,000 tonne burner. So they want to haul waste from throughout the Central Belt, as far away as the west coast they told me. This drives a coach and horses, or
fleets of waste trucks and trains, through the proximity principle.
Would the reporter have give his assent if the original application had been for this huge area? I think not. A cynic might conclude that Viridor’s application had this in mind and they always intended to widen the area. Surely that’s not possible? They have been unable to submit an acceptable heat plan. They will not be looking for that condition to be removed next, will they? Big business doesn’t work like that, does it?
Rosebery Place, Dunbar.