The French multinational, Lafarge, paper mills and landfill sites are also amongst those outed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) for belching the most global warming gases into the atmosphere in 2008.
In a long list of nearly 100 polluters, there are also famous distilleries, food companies, chemical plants, sewage works, glass manufacturers, the Michelin Tyre company and the nuclear submarine bases on the Clyde.
Pollution from some of the major plants has gone up, as at ScottishPower’s Cockenzie coal-fired power station in East Lothian. Its emissions have leapt nearly 60% from 2.8 million tonnes in 2005 to 4.45 million tonnes last year.
But it is still second in the pollution league to ScottishPower’s other coal plant at Longannet in Fife. Emissions from Longannet were nearly 6 million tonnes, a 30% drop compared to 2005.
Third in the league was the petrochemical plant run by Ineos at Grangemouth, followed by ExxonMobile’s ethylene plant in Fife and a combined heath and power plant run by the Finnish company, Fortum, at Grangemouth.
The top ten also includes the Lafarge cement works at Dunbar in East Lothian, as well as plants run by BP, Shell and E.ON at Grangemouth, Peterhead and Lockerbie (see table below).
Sepa’s Scottish pollution release inventory for 2008 also lists several paper plants, as well as a clutch of private and local authority landfill sites. Distilleries on the list include Diageo, William Grant & Sons and the North British Distillery in Edinburgh.
“Scotland has the best climate change laws in the world but these figures show that we have a long way to go to meet our own tough targets,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland.
“From old coal-fired power stations to the pollution from the refineries feeding our car addiction, fossil fuels are still a big part of Scotland's energy picture.” Dixon called on the UK government to stop “wasting time” and to back carbon capture and storage to cut Longannet’s emissions.
Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, added: “While our top priority must be to ensure new renewable energy capacity replaces carbon dinosaurs like Cockenzie, other sectors such as waste must be targeted too.”
Three major polluters have been omitted from the inventory because Sepa has rejected their figures as inaccurate. They are Scottish and Southern Energy’s gas-fired power station at Peterhead, BP’s oil terminal at Sullom Voe on Shetland and BP’s Forties oil and gas pipeline at Peterhead.
The companies named by Sepa defended themselves by arguing that they provided essential services and were doing their best to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. ScottishPower stressed its plans to build the world’s first commercial-scale carbon capture plant at Longannet and to replace Cockenzie with a modern gas plant after 2015.
“In order to guarantee sustainable and secure supplies of electricity, ScottishPower is committed to increasing the amount of energy generated from renewable sources, plus continued investment in, and development of, cleaner coal technology,” said a company spokesman.
Ineos insisted that it was committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations at Grangemouth. “Overall emissions from the complex have reduced significantly over the last decade,” said a company spokesman.
ExxonMobil has invested £2 million this year in carbon reduction projects at its Fife ethylene plant. According to BP, its Kinneil oil terminal at Grangemouth has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions over the last few years.
Lafarge Cement claimed a 40% reduction in its UK emissions since 1990, with a series of improvements at the Dunbar works. “Lafarge is also the UK market leader in the development of cements with lower carbon footprints,” said the company’s environmental manager, David Shenton.
Shell said it was one of the first companies to take action to combat climate change, with a target to cut its emissions 5% between 1990 and 2010. The Finnish company, Fortum, pointed out that its Grangemouth plant used combined heat and power which was much more efficient than conventional electricity generation.
Top ten climate polluters in 2008
company / plant / tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2008
Scottish Power / Longannet power station, Fife / 5.98 million
Scottish Power / Cockenzie power station, East Lothian / 4.45 million
Ineos / Grangemouth petrochemical plant, Falkirk / 3.44 million
ExxonMobil / Mossmorran ethylene plant, Fife / 744,000
Fortum / Grangemouth combined heat and power plant, Falkirk / 647,000
Lafarge / Dunbar cement works, East Lothian / 629,000
BP / Kinneil oil terminal, Grangemouth / 394,000
Shell / St Fergus gas plant, Peterhead / 358,000
E.ON / Croft power station, Lockerbie / 300,000
Norbord/ Cowie paper mill, Stirlingshire / 264,000