24 September 2013
Scotland's dirtiest waste incinerator is bidding to keep burning. The Dumfries company, Scotgen, has appealed against a move by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) to revoke its operating licence.
Sepa announced on 27 August that it intended to prevent the plant from running because of "persistent non-compliance with the requirements of the permit." The energy-from-waste facility at Dargavel in Dumfries has breached pollution limits hundreds of times and last month suffered a major fire.
According to Sepa, Scotgen also failed 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.
Sepa confirmed today that Scotgen had lodged an appeal with Scottish ministers on 20 September against the notice revoking its licence. "This means that the revocation notice will be in abeyance until final determination or withdrawal of the appeal," said Sepa's spokesman.
"We await information from Scottish ministers as to the format, time and venue of the appeal. As far as we are aware Scotgen (Dumfries) Ltd is still operating under an intent to go into administration."
In its appeal, Scotgen claimed that the half-burnt wastes at the Dargavel plant were not "malodorous" and were "unlikely to attract insects, birds and vermin". It accused Sepa of being "unreasonable" in insisting that the wastes were removed.
"Scotgen has stored this material on site for long periods under similar conditions, at no previous time was such a request made or enforced," the company argued.
"Scotgen feel that the notice was ill thought out and ill timed given the efforts being made by Scotgen to actively manage the position they were placed in following the fire at the facility. Being in protected administration Scotgen were seeking investment from a known interested party."
Scotgen's appeal added: "The potential revocation of the permit in its entirety is unreasonable. Other measures are available and meaningful dialogue would have promoted the use of these alternate measures without the potential for the dire consequences that would be realised should this revocation be enacted."
A spokesman for Sepa said: "We are considering our response to the appeal."
This story was followed up by the BBC.