A BID to take waste from all over Scotland to burn at East Lothian has caused an outcry.
Waste company Viridor wants to transport the rubbish to their new £200m incinerator at Oxwellmains, Dunbar.
However this week the move was condemned at the Scottish Parliament by former Scottish Labour leader and East Lohtian MSP Iain Gray who has called on the Government to oppose the move.
In a motion before the parliament he points out that planning permission - which was granted after a public inquiry - was given on the basis that waste treated at the 3000,000 tonne facility would come from a relatively small area including the Scottish Borders.
Viridor is now wanting to remove that condition which it says is “artificial”.
However protestors claim the bid proves the new plant is not commercially viable.
In his motion, Mr Gray claims out there is “considerable” local opposition to the plant and says Viridor’s latest action is “unacceptable”.
“This attempt to revisit the decision of ministers is solely concerned with maximising profit for Viridor, regardless of the needs and wishes of the local community,” states Mr Gray.
He has been backed by Philip Banks, chair of a joint-action group against the plant, who said this was an issue that had concerned the objectors from the start.
“Our concern was that it would make Oxwellmains a centre for the importation of waste from all over Scotland and possibly south of the Border,” he said.
“One of the key issues in the public inquiry was the waste stream and how big this was going to be.
“The lawyers on behalf of the council argued strongly that there wasn’t a waste stream from the designated area which would justify the size of the plant, and this was rejected by Viridor.
“We felt all along they wouldn’t have enough waste to justify this plant economically. It would appear that this attempt to change the conditions is an acknowledgement that they don’t have a viable economic proposition here.
“This is a half-baked proposal which should not be allowed to proceed.”
However Martin Grey, Viridor Scottish Communications Manager, said: “Having worked hard to maintain dialogue with the full range of stakeholders including Iain Gray, Viridor is disappointed by the motion which is inaccurate.
“The development of Viridor’s £200m modern energy from waste hub will mark a key milestone in Scottish zero waste policy. Along with waste reduction, reuse and enhanced recycling, Scottish policy recognises the need for ‘next generation’ technology to transform the non-recyclable waste that until now would have gone to landfill into a valuable renewable energy resource.
“Ahead of commencing development, Viridor has been consulting on an amendment to one planning condition to normalise waste reception criteria in line with fresh guidance from Scottish Government and SEPA. The SEPA guidance is clear that ‘This means that it is acceptable for any waste arising from any location within Scotland to be treated in any waste management facility proposed within Scotland.’
“This reflects what has been the reality on the ground for many years – that different recycling and waste streams are treated at specialist facilities across Scotland. It is also reflective of practice in East Lothian and the council’s own plans for waste treatment.”