May 25 2011 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
Pyrolysis Plant, Carnbroe
PROTESTERS battling the proposed Carnbroe pyrolysis plant say they are “shocked and devastated” that permission for the development has been granted on appeal.
They have vowed to continue their fight against Shore Energy’s plan s after Scottish Government reporters overturned North Lanarkshire Council’s previous refusal of the application.
It had attracted 6000 objections from local residents, whose concerns include the plant’s impact on health, A8 traffic and landscape.
Those were upheld by councillors on the local authority’s planning committee, who threw out the proposal in March 2010.
However, reporters Dilwyn Thomas and Hugh Begg – who conducted a week-long public inquiry in February – disagreed and have now given the go-ahead for the “waste material recovery and renewable energy facility”.
Leading protester Maggie Proctor, of campaign group Monklands Residents Against Pyrolysis Plant (MRAPP), said: “We just didn’t expect this to be approved – but it isn’t over.
“This is absolutely devastating for our community, our town and Monklands, and for the families who live here and people have even said they plan to move as their concerns about health have been disregarded.
“We had very strong, reasoned arguments against it; this wasn’t just flippant angry villagers protesting, and the fact that the reporters came down on the side of the appellant is very surprising.
“Quite a few people are also wondering about the timing of the announcement, being held back until after the election – perhaps the SNP wouldn’t have done quite so well in our area if this had been announced before.
“We’re asking people to write to Alex Salmond to tell him how disgusted we are and ask him to review this immediately, and we’re having meetings to look at all the options we could pursue.
“Shore Energy still have to get licences from SEPA, so there’s quite a bit to go before this plant can go ahead; the people and council didn’t want this here and we need to convince them of that.
“We’ve spent two years on this campaign and a lot of people have invested time and effort and given up so much of their lives.
“I’ve been inundated with offers of support since the decision; we’re shocked that democracy hasn’t worked but we’ll keep the campaign going, and we’re more determined than Shore because we’ve more to lose.”
The two Scottish Government reporters took the view that the Carnbroe pyrolysis plant was “urgently” needed in order to work towards “zero waste” policy targets and disagreed that it should in part be turned down as a permission has been granted for a similar facility at Greengairs.
However, they noted: “We can sympathise with those who remain to be convinced that any costs of pursuing the zero waste policy should not be borne disproportionately by the people resident in the immediate vicinity.”
They dismissed health concerns relating to particulate emission, saying: “The waste management facility would not be detrimental to human health, including that of children and adults living near the site.”
With an output of 10 megawatts, the pyrolysis plant is also considered small-scale and therefore does not require a 250m buffer zone.
Reporters considered the brownfield former Shanks and McEwan site to be appropriate, and said that only some homes on Locher Walk “would suffer a large adverse effect” from the 18m building and two chimney stacks.
Although they agreed with objectors’ concerns about odours and imposed conditions to combat the issue, they did not uphold the argument that there would be “significant deterioration” in the operation of congested Shawhead interchange.
The reporters imposed 24 conditions on the development, including one stating that no site work may begin until a five-strong community liaison group including two community representatives has been established.
Shore Energy was unable to respond to the Advertiser’s requests for comment on the decision at the time of going to press.