Ash-heap nation: outrage over plans for Scottish super-incinerators
ELEVEN huge new waste incinerators are being planned across Scotland, prompting warnings they will endanger health, pollute the environment and breach Government recy- cling policy.
Controversial new plants proposed in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Lothian, Fife, Aberdeen and elsewhere could burn nearly two million tonnes of waste a year, more than one-third of all Scotland’s household and business refuse.
But community and environmental groups fear that plumes of pollution will put children’s heath at risk. They warn that Scotland is “sleepwalking away from recycling” and failing to abide by its “zero waste” strategy.
Developers, however, argue that recycling has “stagnated” and that incinerators are needed to get rid of “residual” waste. The latest technology will ensure that waste burning is “safe, reliable and environmentally beneficial”, they say.
The Scottish Government policy for a “circular economy” stressed that the role of “energy from waste” incinerators should be limited. It was important to ensure that all other options were exhausted first, it said. But an investigation by the Sunday Herald has found that there are four new incinerators already under construction, four that have planning permission and three that have made planning applications. This is in addition to the two operational incinerators in Dundee and Shetland.
Friends of the Earth Scotland called on ministers to block the building of so many incinerators. “We are about to be locked into decades of having to feed incinerators instead of doing something more sensible with our resources,” said the environmental group’s director, Dr Richard Dixon.
“The choices we make in the next few years will determine whether we spend the next three decades in a polluted, wasteful Scotland or change to the kind of resource-efficient, recycling society we deserve in the 21st century. ”The choice was to go for incineration or high recycling, Dixon argued. “The Scottish Government has fine plans but they will come to naught unless they stop this rush to incineration before it is too late.”
Shlomo Dowen, co-ordinator of the UK Without Incineration Network, accused the Scottish Government of putting its zero waste ambitions at risk. “Existing incinerators in Scotland are already burning material that could and should be recycled or composted,” he said.
Hargreaves Services, the company behind two of the proposed incinerators in Fife and Falkirk, pointed out in a planning submission that Scottish recycling targets had been missed. The company argued that there was “a significant structural shortage of residual waste disposal” in Scotland. It also contended that not every incinerator that had planning permission would end up being built.
“The few plants that will both receive
Concerns have been raised over plans for huge new waste incinerators