Plans for similar incinerators across the country are now in disarray after it was revealed that a new state of the art incinerator at Dargavel in Dumfries has had its operations restricted by SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) due to airborne dioxin releases at up to two and a half time the permitted levels. The Company behind this is Scotgen and they had been trying to gain another permit for a plant at Dovesdale Farm nr Stonehouse in South Lanarkshire, coincidentally the source of the first batch of waste that Weston Point in Runcorn are planning to burn. These plans for another Scottish incinerator appear to now be on hold as local residents have raised over 24,000 objections to the plan and with this latest breach SEPA are unlikely to grant a second permit.
Pretty much every other incinerator plan around the country will be worried at this news as these new ‘state of the art’ plants are always touted at Planning Inquiries as being ‘perfectly safe’ and ‘operating within tolerable levels’, posing ‘little or no health risk’. Clearly this latest news shows these assertions to be nothing more than a fabrication and it should reinforce residents objections to these plants on health grounds. Incinerator firms are now well versed at playing down the health risks at Public Inquiries, backed by various other Quangos and the Government themselves who insist that the health risks are negligible at best. This news should push the health card higher up the agenda once again, and rightly so as these plants are long term health time bombs and could become the ‘asbestos scandal’ for the next generation.
This latest emission issue is not the first problem for the 200,000 tonnes pa Dumfries plant. Before the plant was shut down in April last year, it had breached its emission limits over 200 times, twice because of dioxins. According to SEPA, it also had 100 “short-term exceedances” and this had prompted some 45 noise complaints.