27 August 2013
The operating licence for Scotland's dirtiest waste incinerator is to be revoked on 23 September, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has announced.
Scotgen's ailing energy-from-waste plant in Dumfries, which has breached pollution limits hundreds of times and last month suffered a major fire, is now almost certain to close. The company recently told the Court of Session that it was planning to go into administration.
Sepa's highly unusual move follows Scotgen's failure to comply with an legal enforcement notice requiring 800 tonnes of partially burnt waste to be removed from the plant so that it didn't stink and attract rats.
According to Sepa, the waste plant was guilty of "persistent non-compliance with the requirements of the permit." It had also failed to maintain enough resources to pay for cleaning up the mess it had made, and had failed in its main aim of recovering energy efficiently.
Ian Conroy, Sepa's technical support manager in the southwest, pointed out that the Scotgen plant had not been able to demonstrate that it could abide by the rules meant to protect the environment.
"The facility started operations more than four years ago, and in that time has never achieved a level of compliance which would give Sepa any degree of confidence that future operation would be any different," he said.
"The facility has consistently failed to meet any reasonable expectation of environmental performance and the predicted level of energy recovery at approximately 3% is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory. Sepa has taken this serious and unusual action of revoking the permit following careful consideration and assessment of the regulatory options available."
The revocation notice was issued on 23 August, but couldn't be disclosed until Sepa was certain that it had been received by Scotgen. The company is entitled to appeal to Scottish ministers, which could delay closure.
This story was also run by the BBC.