Green light for Scottish energy-from-waste facility

Midlothian Council has granted planning permission for a waste recycling and combined heat and power plant.

FCC Medio Ambiente SA was appointed preferred bidder in December 2014 for the contract to design, build, finance and operate facilities to treat and recover value from all the waste collected by Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils that currently goes directly to landfill.

This 25-year contract will involve the thermal treatment of up to 135,000 tonnes of mixed waste annually to produce electricity for the National Grid and heat suitable for a district heating scheme, with less than 5% of all waste going to landfill in line with Scottish Government targets.

“This decision takes us a step closer to our goal of achieving the highest possible public participation in recycling while having dedicated, competitively priced facilities that will use all the remaining waste that cannot be readily recovered as a valuable resource,” said Environment Convener for City of Edinburgh Council, Cllr Lesley Hinds.

“In combination with the food waste treatment plant which is nearing completion, these facilities will boost our recycling rate, guarantee we would meet our landfill diversion targets and make a significant contribution towards Scotland’s renewable energy targets.”    

Cllr Jim Bryant, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Midlothian Council, added: “This decision is of equal benefit to both partner councils as it represents the chance to turn a derelict, brownfield site into a valuable energy production centre.

“A district heating network could bring economic benefits to the many exciting developments that are transforming the Shawfair area and beyond, as well as attracting other innovative projects and employment opportunities.”

Gordon Pollock, Zero Waste Project Director, said: “Our project team is working up the details of the agreement with the aim of the partner councils signing the contract with FCC in December.”  

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues