Fly plague waste site closed down
But bosses vow to appeal against decision
Shawhead residents are delighted that the recycling plant responsible for the plague of flies which has infested their homes has been forced to close.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) last week issued GBS Recycling with a notice of revocation, removing their licence and preventing them from managing waste on the Hagmill Estate site.
Scores of frustrated homeowners had complained about swarms of flies infesting their homes. It was the second time in less than a year that the insects had descended on the area.
A Facebook group entitled The Catcher of the Fly had 800 members and received the backing of constituency MSP Fulton MacGregor.
Keirsten Smith, who set up the Facebook page, told the Advertiser: “It’s fantastic news and shows that when a community stands strong then its voice can be heard.
“Without a doubt our hard work has paid off. People can relax and live their lives.
“It’s been like a horror movie at times. Everywhere you went the flies got you.
“To be able to do simple things, like making a cup of tea without a fly landing in it or opening the windows on a warm day, will be bliss.
“Everybody that joined our Facebook group played a part in this victory and we also couldn’t have done it without the Advertiser, who highlighted our problem.
“We’re so happy our lives will now be able to get back to normal.”
Fellow resident Anne Mills added: “We’re sorry that people may lose their jobs but if they kept their licence then we’d have to deal with this every year.
“I don’t want to see anybody left unemployed but GBS have had their chances and, with almost a full summer ahead, we’re just relieved that this looks like it’s come to an end.”
A spokesperson for SEPA said: “GBS Recycling Limited has been served with a notice of revocation which removes the operator’s licence at their site in Shawhead.
“SEPA is satisfied that allowing the operator to continue waste activities would cause pollution of the environment or have a detrimental impact on the local community.
“It should be noted that GBS Recycling Limited have the option to appeal the service of the notice to Scottish ministers.”
GBS director Tavis McCabe confirmed he will be appealling SEPA’s decision.
He said: “We are not just going to give up. We will fight this.
“The residents gathered a significant amount of momentum, which even reached the MSP, and it’s the pressure on SEPA that has done this.
“The licence being revoked when the site was clear and the company had taken significant steps in relation to investing in environmental controls is extremely disappointing.
“I will instruct our solicitors of our intentions and take it from there but for the foreseeable future no waste management will take place on the site.”
MSP Fulton MacGregor said: “This is a big development and the people who have suffered ongoing infestation and fought this issue tirelessly will be pleased they will now be able to live without fear of further problems.
“I know SEPA will not have taken this decision lightly but they clearly felt that there were no other options left for them to ensure that the plant and the surrounding areas remain free from infestation.”
Infestation Residents were plagued by flies Shut down SEPA has ordered the closure of GBS Recycling