Toxic pollution breaches and an explosion at a new waste incinerator have triggered tough legal action and an investigation by government safety watchdogs, upsetting plans for a dozen more waste-burning plants across Scotland.
The Sunday Herald can reveal that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) last week slapped an enforcement notice on Scotgen, a company that is trying to commission a pioneering “energy-from-waste” plant at Dargavel in Dumfries.
This follows an admission that the plant breached safety limits by emitting more cancer-causing dioxins than permitted into the air in October, and then failed to promptly inform Sepa. The company has been ordered to restrict the plant’s operations, and to ensure that future monitoring results are provided as soon as possible.
Scotgen is also under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive following a “pipe burst” at the Dargavel plant in August. According to a report by the company, nearby pipework and a roof were damaged by a steam explosion.
Environmental groups and local campaigners say that the plant is dangerous and are demanding that it be immediately shut down. They are also calling for plans for other waste incinerators in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Lothian, Perth, Aberdeenshire and Invergordon to be halted (see table below).