Mar 2 2011 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Pyrolysis Plant, Carnbroe
THE decision over whether the controversial pyrolysis plant at Carnbroe will go ahead is now in the hands of Scottish Government reporters.
Representatives of applicants Shore Energy, protesters and politicians had their say on the specific issues of the traffic impact at busy Shawhead and waste management policy at last week’s hearing.
All sides now have until tomorrow (Thursday) to submit their final statements, but there has been no indication of when a decision will be issued.
The hearing and inquiry sessions were conducted over four days – where developments included the first-day withdrawal of previous support from Scottish Enterprise.
Officials wrote to request that a previous letter from the organisation’s Jude Maxwell endorsing the plant’s productivity, competitiveness and economic benefits be “formally withdrawn from consideration”.
He spoke in favour of the proposal at last March’s planning hearing when North Lanarkshire Council unanimously threw out the proposal, siding with the 6000 local residents who had vehemently objected.
Dozens of those protesters were present at the hearing, where campaign group Monklands Residents Against Pyrolysis Plant (MRAPP) was represented by Maggie Proctor, Marie Maguire and Stephen Tagg.
Ms Proctor told the Advertiser: “It was four days of quite intense questioning, cross-examination and clarifications.
“Jon Garvie of Shore Energy got quite a reaction from our supporters when he claimed that the site was chosen because of the excellent road network – we had to ask if we were all talking about the same roads.
“Elaine Smith MSP was brilliant and made several very good points about the distance of the facility from residential areas, the waste that will be brought in and the fact that they have to be able to expand.
“The whole thing was quite a grilling but we hit back, were assured and we made sure we kept everything factual – not making sweeping statements.
“We covered all the bases and feel we put up enough information to allow the reporter to dismiss it, but at this stage I’m still not sure what will happen.
“However, this battle isn’t finished even if the planning application does go through, as Shore would still have to get a licence from Sepa and we’d do whatever it took to stop them getting that.”
Ms Smith, the Coatbridge and Chryston MSP, has supported local residents in their opposition to the pyrolysis plant from the outset, along with local councillors and MP Tom Clarke.
She said: “I was pleased to be able to represent my constituents at the inquiry and was heartened by the turnout, which displayed the strength of feeling against this proposal in the community.
“I told the inquiry that this area is already burdened with significant waste management facilities and I see no reason why we should be turned into the dumping ground of Scotland.
“Hopefully, the Scottish Government’s reporters will take on board the objections put forward – I ask that they dismiss this for the good of the people of Coatbridge and uphold the decision of the democratically-elected local authority.”