Mar 9 2012 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Friday
COUNCILLORS have unanimously rejected plans for a “waste to energy” plant in Throsk, from a company which has Stirling Provost Fergus Wood as a director.
The council’s planning panel backed the local community, which had voiced serious concerns about the impact of the proposal and attracted backing for their objections from communities further afield and from Friends of the Earth.
Throsk and Polmaise Community Councils had objected on possible effects on health/air quality, concern about noise and odour, possible hazardous waste, that the waste source was not identified, and concern over the environmental monitoring and management of the site. Roads, traffic and access concerns had also been raised.
The meeting heard that the plant would have failed to comply with guidelines as it was too close to housing.
Stirling Council’s planners had been recommending conditional approval of the application, which was earmarked for land next to west of Bandeath Lodge.
Bannockburn ward councillors Alasadair Macpherson and Margaret Brisley, both members of the panel, both raised concerns about the application.
Councillor Macpherson, on asking SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) representatives if they could guarantee no toxins would be emitted from the plant, was told that no guarantees could be given but that measures could be put in place to keep emissions within safe levels.
Councillor Brisley meanwhile said that her understanding of Scottish Planning Policy was that the type of development involved required a “buffer zone” of at least 250 metres from residential properties.
She, seconded by Councillor Macpherson, moved refusal of the application, receiving unanimous backing from the remaining panel members.
It was refused on grounds including: unacceptable location; the 250 metres buffer zone cannot be met; potential health impacts; inadequate demonstration that there would be no risk to human health as a result of the proposed development; and that due to its 24 hour working and associated traffic the development would have a significant detrimental effect to the amenity and quality of life for the residents of Throsk.
Throsk Commmunity Council’s planning spokesperson William Liddell, who gave a presentation to the panel, said after the hearing: “We are very pleased with the outcome. Obviously we had been fighting this for some time.
“The panel members appeared to be on the ball with the questions they asked, a lot of which were we were ready to ask ourselves.
“It could have gone either way but there had been a massive support not just from residents of the village but from other objectors as well, who put a lot of time and effort into researching this and going round with petitions.
“One of the houses basically would have bordered the plant and others were not even 100 metres away. Our objection really started when we saw the location, and when we started doing our research our objections certainly increased. We believe the stack could have been at least 22 metres high.
“The fact that the panel members had come out to visit the site was crucial.”
When the application was first lodged in 2010, consultants for the company stressed the proposed treatment method did not involve incineration of wastes, and added that energy generated could be made available as an electricity supply, locally or to the National Grid, and partly as heat to local users within a 1.5km radius. They estimated the facility could employ around 65 people full-time.