‘No evidence’ to support animal waste ban

Monday May 16th 2022


The Entrance to Bangley Quarry outside Haddington.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A ban on using animal waste at an energy plant is unjustified because there is no evidence it will create an odour, it has being claimed.

The firm behind the planned anaerobic digester at Bangley Quarry, north of Haddington, says East Lothian councillors refused their request to lift a planning condition banning the use of animal by-products (ABPs) without any proof.

Instead they argue that council officials ‘rigorously and robustly’ proved the change would not impact on the amenity of the area and supported their application.

Green Forty Development said they had been approached by local farmers keen to supply “slurry and manure” to the plant in return for the resulting compost in a “fully circular economy”.

The construction of the plant was delayed during the pandemic but is still going ahead and developers asked the council to change conditions in the original consent to allow the use of APBs and increase the capacity of materials allowed to be transported into the plant.

The council received 14 objections from the public as well as from Haddington and District Community Council who said there were “good reasons” for the conditions being imposed in the first place and no justification to removing them.

A meeting of East Lothian Council’s planning committee, in March, refused to allow the changes and saw one councillor accuse the developer of “greenwash”. The committee agreed by five votes to four to reject the request for condition changes.

In an appeal to Scottish Ministers, the developers said the main objections were over an increase of traffic if the amount of material was increased and smell and pollution caused by using APBs.

They say: “There is simply no convincing evidence that supports harmful effects on the amenity as a consequence of the proposal.

“The application is supported by a professionally prepared odour and air quality assessment and these aspects have been rigorously assessed by the council officers and SEPA, none of whom object.”

Urging the Scottish Government Reporter to overturn the decision the developers pointed to the investigations by the council’s own officers who found no reason to refuse the changes and supported them.

They said: “These issues have been subject to a rigorous and robust assessment by the council officers.

“Only one statutory consultee (the community council) has objected and 14 other objections were made.

“In so far as these objections are relevant they do not provide a proper basis on the evidence for refusing this appeal.”

The Reporter is expected to visit the quarry site before making a decision.

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