Planners give nod to Porty waste depot

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HIGHLY controversial plans to build a waste transfer facility in Portobello have been officially recommended for approval by the city council.

The 7 million scheme by Viridor would transform the former rail freight yard off Sir Harry Lauder Road into a waste transfer station.

A newly-released report to the city council's planning committee recommends giving the project the green light but campaigners and local groups will have the chance to have their say on the plans at the meeting next week.

Officials said the site would be used for the delivery of rubbish, with hundreds of trucks from across Edinburgh and the Lothians dumping private and commercial waste into a compactor every day, before it is loaded on to a train bound for the Oxenwellmains landfill site at Dunbar.

Residents and campaigners have said any extra traffic on the already congested Sir Harry Lauder Road would cause chaos.

More than 700 letters and e-mails of objection were received by the council over the plans.

Maria Devoy, chair of the Brighton and Rosefield Residents Association, whose members stay next to the proposed site, said there was "a huge level of concern" about the plans. "I am very disappointed that these plans have been recommended for approval, as there is a huge level of local concern about this," she said.

Frances Wraith, a member of the campaign group Portobello Opposes New Garbage Site (PONGS), said she was pleased that the council had agreed to let local groups have their say, but was concerned that the plans had been recommended for approval.

"We had expected this, but it is still alarming that so many local objections appear to have been simply overlooked," she said. "There is something disquieting about the fact that they do not believe there will be a serious problem with traffic."

Local councillor Stephen Hawkins said: "I am disappointed that the planning officials cannot find a strong planning reason to refuse this application."

Dan Cooke of Viridor said: "Viridor is pleased but not surprised by the officials' recommendation to support the creation of a new road to rail waste transfer site at Portobello. We have worked very hard to ensure that our proposal is in line with the council planning policies."