Ash-heap na­tion: ou­trage over plans for Scot­tish su­per-in­cin­er­a­tors

Sunday Herald - - ENVIRONMENT - BY ROB ED­WARDS

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

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