Couriers Concerns – No Incinerator Wanted In Carnbroe
Last month, Shore Energy was granted planning permission for a materials recovery and renewable energy facility at Carnbroe, Coatbridge. Since the first application was submitted by the company back in June 2009, the subject of carbon emissions and waste technologies has been an issue for the Scottish Parliament, especially at a time when funding for environmentally motivated initiatives is limited.
Energy consumption and saving money on necessary utilities is a vital area for research and development, in a period when the economy is more stable than in recent years. Rising fuel and food prices only add to daily living costs. Therefore, a decrease in electricity and heating bills would be a welcome relief to many. From this perspective, government motivations are understandable.
Transparency of the process this requires is not as easy as it should be. Looking into the development and applications of the technology Shore Energy plan to use is far from straightforward. The facility itself is described by the company in language that emphasises the potential to create renewable energies and environmentally aware focal points. There is no mention of incineration or combustion or the amount of questionable emissions the plant might release into the atmosphere.
There is a lot of information available concerning the general science of fuel combustion, waste disposal and carbon emissions. In order to reduce emissions, the conclusion from organisations the Department of Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Waste and Resources Assessment Tool for the Environment (WRATE) suggests that in the name of long term solutions, sacrifices have to be made. Short- term solutions only buy us more time.
The easiest and cheapest form of short-term waste disposal is landfill, but the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan, introduced in June 2010, lays out strategies to have only 5% of remaining waste to end up in landfill by 2025.
However, the sacrifice that is needed to further the Zero Waste effort will affect the residents of Carnbroe and frequent users of the A8, such as ourselves. There is a feeling that in the name of the bigger picture, government targets are taking precedence over the local community. There has been a large amount of local protest at the idea of the plant being built so close to Coatbridge. Residents’ issues range from a lack of clarity in energy emissions from the facility and why planning permission was originally rejected for the plant in March 2010, before the Zero Waste Plan was launched.
There is little argument against renewable energies and waste disposal solutions needing to be analysed and implemented. The realisation that systems will have to change is an understandable notion. We cannot continue disposing of waste collectively in landfill sites and not consciously recycling and contributing to European Directives.
However, a clear issue has been demonstrated here with the Carnbroe facility planning permission, with an inability for the local council and indeed the Scottish Parliament to demonstrate interest in the local community and arguments against the development. More transparency is needed throughout the whole process if councils want there to be fewer complaints and areas of contention between protective communities and the energy-conserving national agenda.