Leith biomass plant - 'It is certainly not going to be attractive'

IN these times of economic uncertainty the prospect of hundreds of new jobs being created at a biomass energy plant at Leith docks holds obvious appeal.

As well as up to 700 workers during construction the plant might employ 60 in the long term. Of course, it ticks another box by offering the further prospect of "green" energy from wood chip.

But serious concerns remain about the project, which is being pushed forward by Forth Energy, a partnership of Forth Ports and Scottish and Southern Energy.

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The News first queried the plant's ecological credentials when we discovered fuel would initially be shipped here from across the Atlantic. Then locals expressed fears over traffic and how the plant fitted in with the idea of Leith becoming a residential and leisure hub.

Now, as we reveal today, the focal point of the plant, its chimney, will be a fifth higher than thought, at 120 metres tall.

This needn't be the final straw that condemns the plan - in fact, if it is to be built then it is imperative that the smokestack is tall enough to ensure dioxins are dispersed as safely as possible.

But, as the chairman of Forth Energy admits, it is certainly not going to be attractive, and the latest revelations will only add to doubts about the plant.

The last chance to prove its worth will be the public exhibitions planned later this month.

Cake stall

joanna Coleman isn't the first person to be caught out by some of the very regulations she is supposed to help oversee.

As a councillor, she could have been expected to understand the ins and outs of planning rules.

Certainly, she should have known to check personally whether or not her cake business in a unit on Nicolson Street was compliant rather than rely on what she was told by the leaseholder.

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But, having said that, Councillor Coleman moved quickly to quit the premises when she found it was not supposed to have 14 seats.

She is clearly embarrassed about the whole affair, which involved no intent on her part, and - as she puts it herself - she won't let it happen again.

So long as others who innocently break planning rules are given the same opportunity to learn from their mistakes, that should be an end to it.