Scotland could follow Wales with ‘incinerator ban’, say Greens

The Scottish Greens have backed a ban as the government revealed it will review energy-recovery planning rules in the autumn.

Scotland’s new national planning framework could block further development of energy-from-waste, it has been claimed by the Scottish Greens.

In a statement emailed yesterday, the Greens indicated Scotland could follow Wales, which brought in a moratorium in March.  

However, the legal-basis for the Welsh ban has yet to be tested and a similar moratorium on fracking in Wales was questioned as being beyond the power of the government when it was introduced in 2015.

According to the Greens’ statement, Scotland’s net zero secretary Michael Matheson “confirmed” the role of EfW plants “will be reviewed by September”. Matheson also announced yesterday an initiative to “unlock” £200m (€231.5m) of low-carbon investment launched in Scotland. 

Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “I’m glad that the Scottish government recognises that the national planning framework can be used to stop the current free-for-all on waste incinerators across Scotland.

“An effective ban would refocus efforts on where it is needed – preventing waste and effective recycling. That’s why the update to planning policies is a huge opportunity for progress.”

Scotland has seen large-scale investment in its EfW sector in recent years, driven mainly by the country’s plan to ban on landfill which was due to come in this year but has since been shunted back to 2025.

A number of facilities are in development in Scotland, with UK-based developer CoGen currently challenging the Scottish government’s decision to block planning consent for a 25MWe Coatbridge-based EfW plant, which is being developed by its subsidiary North Lanarkshire Bio Power’s. 

Earlier this month, Scotland-based Barr applied for planning permission to change its Killoch-based consented waste-gasification facility to a traditional grate-based system. 

Also this month PowerHouse Energy announced plans for a facility in West Dunbartonshire. In February, Viridor started work on developing a new EfW plant in Overwood. The company also owns a waste-gasification plant in Glasgow, which opened in 2019.  

MVV’s Dundee-based replacement plant is due to become operational soon. Belgium-based Indaver is also developing the NESS EfW plant in Aberdeen, which has moved to construction. 

Other projects in the pipeline include Binn Group’s Perth-based 84,9000 tonne a year EfW plant, which received planning consent in January. While Holistic Energy has plans for a vast collection of plants, including energy recovery. 

US-based Covanta and Australia-based Macquarie’s Green Investment Group GIG are working together on the Scotland-based Earls Gate facility, which is due to open next year.

Last November developer NPL Group also secured planning consent from local authority Falkirk Council to develop a facility. 

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