SITA UK proposes Buchan waste treatment plant

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SITA UK has earmarked Buchan land for plans to develop a multi-million pound ‘resource recovery park’.

The company’s plans for modern, sophisticated waste treatment facilities will divert waste from landfill and recover as much value as possible from the 100,000 tonnes of un-recycled household waste that is produced by homes in Aberdeenshire every year.

The resource recovery park will incorporate a range of high-tech solutions, including a mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facility, in-vessel composting (IVC) and a gasification plant. These will be developed adjacent to the existing Stoneyhill landfill site west of Longhaven and will lead to the creation of 200 jobs during construction and 35 permanent operational jobs.

The resource recovery park will be in line with Scotland’s Zero Waste Policy, which seeks to make the most efficient use of resources by minimising the country’s demand on primary resources and maximising the reuse, recycling and recovery of resources, instead of treating them as waste.

The aim is to minimise the levels of waste currently being put into landfill by increasing recovery rates and treating the non-recycled waste through mechanical biological treatment and gasification plant, which will produce electricity for the National Grid.

As part of its pre-application consultation process, SITA UK will be holding public exhibitions in the spring to enable the local community to get involved in the process before plans are finalised and the application is made. Further details about the exhibitions will be released nearer the time.

A planning application will then be submitted to Aberdeenshire Council during the first half of this year.

As part of the development, SITA UK hopes to create the Stoneyhill Community Fund, which would offer financial assistance to worthy projects in the local community.

Martin Cracknell, SITA UK’s strategic development manager in Scotland, told the Buchanie: “The issue of how we deal with Aberdeenshire’s waste is something that affects all of us and is something that must be addressed if we are to meet Government targets.

“The Stoneyhill Resource Recovery Park represents an enormous amount of inward investment of approximately £60 million, with significant socio-economic benefits, including the creation of about 200 jobs during the construction phase, and a further 35 permanent jobs to operate the facilities at the park.

“SITA UK is planning to develop a modern resource recovery park that will dramatically reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill in Aberdeenshire and maximise recovery with energy creation from the non-recoverable waste.

“We appreciate that people will want to get involved and will have lots of questions, so we are very much looking forward to meeting with the community in the coming weeks, where we will explain our plans in more detail.”

Of course, the proposal has been likened by some to the proposed waste to enegry plant at Upperton which was refused planning permission by councillors last year.

Local campaigner John Askey says this proposal is definitely something he’ll be keeping his eye on.

“I’m totally against this proposal,” he told the Buchanie.

“I’ve conducted research on gasification and a report from the American Environmental Protection Agency states that emissions from gasification are higher than those of incinerators. This site is about half a mile from my home and I can almost see it from the house. I have two young children aged six and two and I am very concerned about their future. I’ll be keeping an eye on what’s going on,” he says.