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Highland Council wants an energy from waste plant to stop tons of refuse being moved almost 200 miles for treatment

By Scott Maclennan

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Councillor Graham Mackenzie at the Waste Transfer Station.
Councillor Graham Mackenzie at the Waste Transfer Station.

An energy from waste (EfW) plant somewhere in the Highlands is still on the cards according to a leading Highland councillor amid hopes a case can be made to the Scottish Government.

Building new EfW plants was left in a slightly ambiguous situation after the latest guidance sought to place a near moratorium on them but one provision stated that they may be built “if fully justified.”

But despite the opening of the new Longman waste transfer station, huge amounts of waste will still be transported to a plant in Dunbar by truck – an almost 200 mile journey with a hefty carbon footprint.

Consequently, the chairman of the communities and place committee Councillor Graham Mackenzie said the local authority was seeking a meeting with Lorna Slater – the Greens Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.

There they hope to make the case for an EfW plant for the Highlands so that waste is sent south while energy could be produced locally – but it does come with a hefty price tag estimated at between £90 million to £190 million.

Cllr Mackenzie said: “We still have the prospect of transferring our waste to Dunbar which is a fair distance away and many journeys each week is clearly not ideal.

“So we hope to arrange a meeting with Lorna Slater in the next few weeks, to discuss the possibilities of an energy from waste plant here in Inverness.

“The presumption from the Scottish Government is that no more of these facilities can be built unless a compelling case can be made.

“We don’t have one in the Highlands and we hope we can make that case to ease the carbon footprint of all these lorries travelling down south.”

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