The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has fingered the famous food company, Baxters, the beer giant, Tennent Caledonian, and the biscuit-maker, McVities, for breaching pollution limits. Some leading whisky distilleries, including Glenlivet, Macallan and Ardmore, have also come under fire for failing to control their contaminating effluents.
Other major operators officially condemned as poor are the Peel Group’s Clydeport at Hunterston in North Ayrshire, which twice showered a local community with dust; the Wood Group’s oil terminal at Nigg on the Cromarty Firth, which unleashed an “offensive odour”; and Borders General Hospital in Melrose, which twice breached air pollution limits.
A big plant making wood products at Cowie in Stirling, run by the $1 billion Canadian corporation, Norbord, was slated as “very poor” by Sepa because of pollution breaches. The same plant was assessed as poor in 2012 and 2010.
Sepa’s latest “compliance assessments” rate the environmental performance of 349 industrial sites across Scotland in 2013 as either poor or very poor. The biggest offenders were 83 water suppliers, 82 waste industry sites and 45 fish farms.
There were also 32 private sewers, 29 public sewerage works, 10 distilleries and breweries, nine crematoria, six food plants and five opencast coal mines assessed as poor (see table below). Details of most of the polluters have been posted online by Sepa, but it has kept water suppliers and sites handing radioactive substances secret “for reasons of national security”.