Campaigners paint a picture of 'monster' biomass plant

CAMPAIGNERS against plans to site a £360 million biomass plant on the city waterfront have produced a series of images of how they believe the "monster" development will look.

Forth Energy submitted a planning application with the Scottish Government last week for the facility, which the company says will create hundreds of jobs and help Scotland meet renewable energy targets.

However, hundreds of local residents have signed a petition against the plans, which include a 120-metre high chimney, amid fears the development will dominate the skyline and pollute the air.

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Now they have produced a series of images using Google Earth of how they say the plant will look when viewed from Arthur's Seat, Constitution Street, Hibs' Easter Road stadium and the Forth Bridge using the dimensions given for the facility in the planning document.

Sally Millar, of the Leith Links Residents' Association and a member of the No to Leith Biomass Plant campaign, said: "These images prove what everybody has feared all along, that the visual impact of this monster is going to damage not only Leith, but also Edinburgh.

"It will be visible from all over the city and is completely unacceptable for a city which is a World Heritage Site.

"I don't think I have met a single person in favour of this project, but there's still a great deal of work to be done to stop it, and it's absolutely vital that everybody writes in to object."

The 200-megawatt plant is expected to create between 500 and 700 jobs during construction and sustain a further 60 or so once operational.

Forth Energy, a partnership between Forth Ports and Scottish & Southern Energy, says the facility will provide renewable energy for 54 per cent of the Capital's electricity needs. If given the go-ahead, the facility could be up and running by the end of 2015.

Commenting on the new images produced by the protesters, Calum Wilson, managing director of Forth Energy, said: "Forth Energy has commissioned leading architects to give a feel for how the renewable energy plant at the port of Leith could look.

"Final design is subject to agreement with Edinburgh City Council. We believe that our proposed development would be a positive symbol of a modern, green and vibrant city."

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Last month, NHS Lothian raised concerns about the power plant, saying a full assessment of the health impacts needed to be carried out before the plans were approved.

Campaigners claim the plant will worsen air pollution by releasing harmful particulates, which can affect people with respiratory conditions.

However, Forth Energy disputes the claims.