DESPITE the fact there is a worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is debilitated by a cyber attack, Viridor has chosen to proceed with a consultation process to erect an incinerator in South Lanarkshire.

In addition, South Lanarkshire Council have released their updated Local Plan which would appear, from the changes, to support such facilities against the overwhelming view of residents throughout the local authority area and efforts to reduce climate-changing emissions.

The Local Plan (Volume 2; Chapter 2) states that the council are seeking to support the introduction of applications for incineration. Further, changes to the plan in comparison with the previous plan support this view. Indeed, South Lanarkshire Council states that there is a “requirement” for an incinerator.

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This is untrue and is in fact contrary to both South Lanarkshire Council’s commitment to reduce greenhouses gases and contrary to the Scottish Government’s targets to reduce CO2 greenhouse gas emissions in tackling climate change.

We must ask,is South Lanarkshire Council a fair decision-maker on a “major” planning application by Viridor when it currently has a 10-year multimillion-pound contract with Viridor (with the option for a further five years) to process municipal waste?

The real question is … would South Lanarkshire Council be supporting such an application if there was going to be no financial return in excess of £1 million in business rates? In addition, would Viridor be erecting an incinerator if there was no profit to be gained from installing incinerators that pollute our air, soil and water ways?

Dovesdale Action Group would argue there is a need for such applications to be dealt with at a national planning level in understanding the broader needs of how we address the issue of waste. If we are to follow South Lanarkshire Council’s view that there is a “requirement” for local authorities to erect incinerators, then the impact on global warming through climate change would be disastrous for all concerned in Scotland. This is unacceptable.

In fact do we really need incineration at all? Dovesdale Action Group believe there are alternatives, as do other national organisations. There are numerous international studies highlighting the issues and threats incinerators pose globally.

Emissions in the waste sector are currently around 1.9 megatonnes per year. Nationally we have made good progress in reducing this but we can do better. Much better. In fact, Dovesdale Action Group strongly believe a national moratorium of all new applications for incinerators in Scotland should be sought while establishing the impact of an increasing number of such developments on our health and environment as well as the impact on climate change, contrary to the Government’s own zero-waste strategy.

Alas money does not, in reality, make the world go round, the climate does, and if we are going to protect our communities and our planet, the incineration of waste must stop NOW. The responsibility to influence that change lies with all of us. If we value our health, economy and our environment we need to encourage our political representatives of all political shades to reflect and take action, to lead us on a new path free from incineration that protects us all and our climate.

We would encourage the people of Lanarkshire to support our campaign to prevent this latest move by Viridor to pollute our air and indeed our environment.

John Young
Dovesdale Action Group