Councillors voice concerns over new energy from waste facility
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An application by Agile Energy Recovery (Inverurie) seeking planning permission for the new facility on the former Inverurie Paper Mill site at Kirkwood Commercial Park returned for discussion by the Garioch Area Committee this week.
Councillors were asked to comment on the application as local members before a final decision which will be made by Full Council.
A site visit previously proposed by councillor Martin Ford looking at road access arrangements for vehicles using the site at the previous meeting was carried out ahead of the meeting.
Speaking at this weeks meeting, councillor Ford said: "This is a challenging and complicated application and I take my hat off to the planners for what must have been a challenging report to write.
"There are interactions between local and national policies with grey areas, but we are only making comment today.
"This is an enormous building being proposed and from some views it is very prominent indeed and it is also a generator of traffic so there is an amenity and landscape issue as a result.
"There are national concerns about over provision of energy from waste as well considering there is one in Aberdeen and others in progress in Scotland and full council needs to consider this.
"If we cannot use the heat from it, then it raises the question of why we need this plant here."
Councillor Neil Baillie said: "I am concerned over the sources of the material, there could be under-provision and where it would be sourced from to efficiently run the plant as we (hopefully) less waste generated.
"It has positives for employment, but there are questions on the output from it."
Fellow councillor Judy Whyte said: "This is an appropriate use for a brown field site, I would be supportive of this in principal as it goes to full council."
Councillor Lesley Berry added: "We can only deal with the planning element of this, and I support this, but we don't have a crystal ball to see if this is the right long term approach."
Overall recommendations were supportive of the planning aspect for the use of the site and its aims, but concerns were raised on the environmental aspects which will need to be raised at the upcoming full council meeting.
The proposed large scale facility would be made up of 27 separate buildings and would also feature components and elements of plant and machinery.
The buildings and elements would include a receiving and shredding area, furnace, waste processing area and fuel silos.
The facility could take in up to 240,000 tonnes of municipal, industrial and commercial waste which would be incinerated to provide a fuel to power a turbine.
The turbine would have the power to produce up to 35MW of electricity of which 30MW would be exported directly to the national grid, however the connection is not part of this application and would be expected to come in the future.
As waste is processed any recyclable materials would be removed as would any stones and metals.
Processed waste would be moved to fuel storage silos where the heat generated would make steam to power the steam turbine.
The application will now move to full council at an upcoming meeting for further debate.