What waste will fuel the plant? Currently a vast majority of Highland's waste is exported by road to other areas of Scotland for landfill. The plant is designed to accept municipal type solid waste. This is the type of waste typically collected from household wheelie bins, together with similar wastes from offices, retail and commercial premises including non-hazardous industrial waste.
What do you mean by ‘Residual Waste’? Your local authority has made considerable improvements in recycling and we anticipate this will increase even more over the coming years. Our facility is intended to deal with the leftovers, or ‘residual’ wastes, that are currently sent to landfill.
Won’t you want to take hazardous or clinical wastes? No. The plant is intended to provide a long-term outlet for local residual waste and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permit will strictly limit acceptable waste types. This is a legally binding document issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), which sets out operational constraints and performance standards.
Are there similar Residual Waste to Energy Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants in Scotland? There is already a successful Residual Waste to Energy CHP in operation in Lerwick, in Shetland Isles.
Has this technology been proven elsewhere in the UK? A similar plant in North East Lincolnshire has operated successfully since 2004 and accepts municipal waste, feeding heat and electricity to the surrounding industrial estate.
In July 2007 planning consent was given for a similar facility in Exeter. There are also numerous plants throughout Europe successfully using this technology.
Won’t the waste lorries cause extra traffic pollution and congestion in the area? There will be no significant increase in traffic coming into or around the industrial estate. Nevertheless this is being studied in detail as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment. Our initial indications show the local road infrastructure can accommodate the forecasted traffic. Waste deliveries do not generally coincide with peak periods so potential impacts are reduced.
How noisy will it be? The noise impacts during construction and operation are being assessed thoroughly as part of the planning process. All waste treatment and process equipment is inside fully enclosed buildings and potentially noisy plant items such as induced draft fans and turbines are housed within specially designed enclosures to minimise noise.
How soon will you start on the new facility? Subject to receiving planning approval, detailed engineering design work and procurement will begin almost immediately. We anticipate construction works will last about 24 months, so an operational facility should be available by the middle of 2011.
What will the Environmental Impact Assessment cover? A full Environmental Impact Assessment will be submitted with the planning application that will be available to interested parties at that time.
The assessment will address air quality, noise, traffic, landscape and visual aspects, ecology, archaeology and cultural heritage, hydrology, hydrogeology, contamination, flood risk and socioeconomic aspects.
Will the proposed Residual Waste to Energy CHP plant be better or worse than landfilling in terms of its carbon footprint? Diversion from landfill will significantly reduce the area's carbon footprint and help meet targets set by the Scottish Government. The region has a larger overall carbon footprint in waste management terms as it is heavily dependent on transporting most of its waste to landfill by road to other areas of Scotland, particularly to Aberdeenshire. A regional residual waste to energy facility will reduce the transport carbon footprint as well as the one created by landfilling.
Will you still be landfilling the ash? The bottom ash will be processed to recover any metals included in the waste. The ash, which is inert and non-hazardous, can then be recycled.
Who will monitor the plants environmental performance? Emissions from the plant will be monitored by us in accordance with the plants IPPC permit. The monitoring data will be reviewed by SEPA specialists and will be publicly available to all interested parties.
Is waste prevention and recycling not the best way forward? Yes. Residual Waste to Energy CHP is compatible with both waste prevention and recycling. All approaches will be needed to meet targets in the foreseeable future.
Will there be employment opportunities? Yes. During both plant construction and operation.