Scotgen, a company that has been trying to commission a controversial new energy-from-waste plant in Dumfries since 2009, has told the Court of Session in Edinburgh that it is intending to go into administration.
At the same time, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is reviewing the plant’s authorisation to operate, following hundreds of pollution breaches, an explosion and a major fire. Since February, Sepa has slapped three legal notices on Scotgen requiring it to clean up its operations.
The most recent on 26 July ordered the company to remove partially burnt waste from the site left after the fire last month so that it didn’t stink or attract flies and rats. According to Sepa, Scotgen has so far failed to comply and its plant is not currently operating.
"Sepa is currently assessing Scotgen's overall performance with complying with the conditions of the permit,” said Ian Conroy, Sepa's technical support manager in the southwest. “We are currently considering the further action that is necessary to be taken with regards to recent events and the historical performance of the facility.”
According to Dr Richard Dixon, the director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Dumfries plant now “looks doomed”. This was “bad news” for up to a dozen similar plants planned across Scotland, he argued.
“No community in Scotland can have confidence that any other company can do what Scotgen has repeatedly failed to do,” he said. “The failure of the Scotgen plant shows us that we should give up plans to burn waste and work much harder on recycling and avoiding waste in the first place.”