CONTROVERSIAL plans for a waste incinerator – opposed by tycoon and Highland laird Mohamed Al Fayed – are set to be given the go ahead by Scottish ministers following a public inquiry.
• Controversial plans for waste incinerator in Invergordon have been given green light
• Tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed vows to fight on as he says plans will play “Russian roulette” with health of community
The £43 million plant proposed by Combined Power and Heat (Highlands) Ltd, at the Cromarty Firth Industrial Park, in Invergordon, was originally turned down by Highland Council in 2009 because of health and traffic concerns.
The development was granted planning permission by the government in 2010, but landowner Mr al Fayed’s Ross Estates appealed against the approval, prompting the public inquiry.
Mr al Fayed, who owns Balnagown Estate, told the public inquiry in June that the development would be playing “Russian roulette” with the health of the community. He declared: “The potential damage from this waste-burning incinerator in the heart of a residential area cannot be exaggerated.”
But the inquiry reporter,
Richard Dent, has rejected claims the incinerator would harm residents’ health and threaten tourism.
He stated in his report: “I do not believe a modern, well-regulated energy-from-waste plant represents a significant threat to human health.”
Mr al Fayed said: “I am thoroughly disappointed with the inspector’s decision to go ahead with it. I cannot see how having a rubbish-burning incinerator in a residential area can be justified in the 21st century; and I will not stand back and let the bureaucrats push this proposal forward.
“The local people don’t want it, the Highland Council doesn’t want it; only the Scottish government, it appears, do.
“I am not giving up the fight. I shall explore every means to see what can be done to stop this outrageous onslaught on a beautiful area where families ought to be allowed to live in peace. As Robert the Bruce found, you have to try, try and try again. And I shall.”
Local councillor Maxine Smith branded the decision “disgraceful”.
She said: “I am really astonished. I cannot believe that the reporter sat and listened to the evidence that we all gave and yet he ignored it. He seems to have found against us on every issue that we brought up.”
Martin Rattray, another local councillor, said “My ward members and I are due to meet the council’s legal team to investigate the possibility of an appeal. I am horrified and appalled and will continue to work with the community to oppose this.”
Glenn Jones, managing director of Combined Power and Heat (Highlands), welcomed the decision. He said: “We are looking forward to investing in the area and working with the local community so that this plant can benefit them.