Brakes on bio power

Scot­tish min­is­ters call for en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - Ju­dith Ton­ner

Cam­paign­ers against the pro­posed en­ergy from waste plant at Carn­broe have wel­comed a Scot­tish Govern­ment in­ter­ven­tion in­sist­ing on the pro­duc­tion of an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ment (EIA).

Min­is­ters last week is­sued a di­rec­tion call­ing for the re­port to be sub­mit­ted be­fore an on­go­ing ap­peal from ap­pli­cants North La­nark­shire Bio Power can be pro­gressed any fur­ther.

It re­verses the pre­vi­ous po­si­tion which con­sid­ered that an EIA would not be re­quired as the ap­pli­ca­tion is for an amend­ment to an al­ready-con­sented project.

Per­mis­sion for a waste plant at the former Shanks & McEwan site was first granted on ap­peal back in 2011.

Bio Power is ap­peal­ing against North La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s unan­i­mous de­ci­sion in April to refuse per­mis­sion for their pro­posed changes to the ex­ist­ing plans – in­clud­ing tre­bling the height of the plant’s ven­ti­la­tion stack to 80 me­tres.

Ful­ton MacGre­gor, the Coat­bridge MSP, called the direc­tive to pro­duce an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment “the most sig­nif­i­cant de­ci­sion on this is­sue for some time and a very wel­come one”.

He said: “For the first time, the Scot­tish Govern­ment has be­come in­volved and shown that the SNP truly does lis­ten to com­mu­ni­ties and, im­por­tantly, acts on what we hear.

“I want to con­grat­u­late Mag­gie Proc­tor and ev­ery­one in­volved with the MRAPP cam­paign who have fought tire­lessly to reach this point.”

Labour can­di­date Geral­dine Woods, who is stand­ing for the party in this month’s Coat­bridge South by- elec­tion, said: “I’m de­lighted that the ap­pli­ca­tion has been halted whilst an EIA is car­ried out.

“The ques­tion re­mains – why do the Scot­tish Govern­ment be­lieve it is now nec­es­sary when they’ve re­peat­edly said the op­po­site? What caused them to re­assess?

“For the past 10 years, cam­paign­ers have fought against these un­wanted and un­nec­es­sary plans. This is­sue is far from over, so it’s im­por­tant to keep the pres­sure on.

“My con­grat­u­la­tions go to Mag­gie Proc­tor and MRAPP who have fought tire­lessly against these plans.

“I’ll cont i nue the fight along­side my party col­leagues to en­sure that this in­cin­er­a­tor never goes ahead.”

Ca m p a i g n g ro u p Mon­k­lands Res­i­dents Against Py­rol­y­sis Plant ( MRAPP) called the min­is­te­rial de­vel­op­ment “good news for all our sup­port­ers” in a Face­book post, thank­ing peo­ple for their “un­wa­ver­ing sup­port”.

They added: “What does it mean for us? A fur­ther con­sid­er­able de­lay to in­cin­er­a­tor plans we have been hold­ing off for al­most 10 years.

“This is yet an­other bat­tle won, while the war con­tin­ues.

“Scot­tish min­is­ters ob­vi­ously re­alise what this means to North La­nark­shire and the ef­fect an in­cin­er­a­tor can have on the en­vi­ron­ment.”

The ap­peal re­lates to North La­nark­shire Bio Power’s ap­pli­ca­tion to al­ter the planned py­rol­y­sis plant by in­creas­ing the an­nual fuel ton­nage and en­ergy out­put, halv­ing the foot­print of the pro­cess­ing build­ing and im­prov­ing ac­cess ar­range­ments, as well as in­creas­ing the stack height.

It was turned down by coun­cil­lors ear­lier this year, who shared the con­cerns of ob­jec­tors – in­clud­ing 1300 sig­na­to­ries on a Face­book pe­ti­tion, 250 peo­ple who sub­mit­ted let­ters, three com­mu­nity coun­cils and seven MSPs – such as the po­ten­tial im­pact on health, pol­lu­tion, traf­fic and prox­im­ity to homes.

The of­fi­cial let­ter is­su­ing the screen­ing di­rec­tion notes that it “su­per­sedes the terms of the coun­cil’s screen­ing opin­ion and [ Scot­tish min­is­ters’ ] pre­vi­ous let­ter re­gard­ing screen­ing of this pro­posal dated May 2.”

A spokesper­son for North La­nark­shire Coun­cil told the Ad­ver­tiser this week: “The Scot­tish Govern­ment has re­quested that North La­nark­shire Bio Power un­der­take an EIA in re­la­tion to their ap­peal.

“An EIA was car­ried out in re­la­tion to the orig­i­nal ap­pli­ca­tion for the py­rol­y­sis plant in 2009.

“When the com­pany sub­mit­ted an amend­ment to that con­sent to ex­tend the plant, the coun­cil did not re­quire an­other EIA to be car­ried out.

“That de­ci­sion was sup­ported by the Scot­tish Govern­ment. How­ever, the govern­ment has re­viewed the mat­ter as part of the ap­peal, and re­quested that an as­sess­ment is car­ried out.”

A let­ter from the Plan­ning and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ap­peals Di­vi­sion sent last week to in­ter­ested par­ties noted: “The screen­ing di­rec­tion di­rects the ap­pel­lant that Scot­tish Min­is­ters con­sider that this is an EIA de­vel­op­ment.

“The Re­porter is aware that the ap­pel­lant has ques­tioned the le­gal ba­sis of the di­rec­tion Min­is­ters have is­sued.

“The Re­porter does not in­tend to take any sub­stan­tive ac­tion on the case un­til the EIA has been sub­mit­ted, or the mat­ter has been re­solved.”

North La­nark­shire Bio Power de­clined to com­ment.

An­other bat­tle won, while the war con­tin­ues

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