Green light for £177m East Lothian waste incinerator

A £177 million incinerator is to be built in East Lothian after the project was given final approval.

Viridor is building the facility on its rail linked Oxwellmains waste treatment hub near Dunbar.

The company, which secured planning consent for the site from Scottish ministers in December 2010, and approval from SEPA in 2011, made the decision to proceed following the discharge of planning conditions and funding approval from parent company, Pennon Group.

The facility is integral to Scotland’s ambitions to deliver a zero waste, circular economy which encourages waste reduction, boosts recycling and recovers vital renewable energy from what remains. In tandem with Viridor’s investment in a Scottish £125m network of recycling-led infrastructure, the project will deliver a 300,000 tonnes per annum ERF which will divert post-recycling ‘residual’ waste from landfill and contribute to Scottish energy security.

The site will generate 30MW of base-load renewable energy direct to the grid – the equivalent of 39 wind turbines – enough to continuously power 39,000 homes. What’s more the plant will offer up to 10MW of heat available for local use.

Supporting at least 350 jobs during construction, including a range of professional, skilled, and entry-level roles and apprenticeships, the project will deliver a robust package of community benefits focused on employment and training, support for local business and education through Viridor’s flagship partnership with the Engineering Development Trust.

Following a 36 month build programme, the facility is due for completion in December 2017. In operation the ERF will support 55 full-time jobs, boosting the East Lothian economy by £10 million each year.

Welcoming the announcement, Ian McAulay, chief executive of Viridor, said: “I am pleased to announce final approval for our £177m Oxwellmains energy recovery facility project, our latest investment in Scotland’s green economy.

“With an ambitious zero waste agenda focused on waste reduction, reuse, enhanced recycling and recovering energy from what remains, Scotland is realising the value of waste as a resource, rather than something that is simply thrown away. But achieving not only cleaner, greener waste management, but a truly integrated Scottish secondary resource sector embedded in the supply chain will require major investment to translate policy into practice. That’s why Viridor has announced investment of £357m in Scotland in the last eighteen months alone.

“We look forward to announcing further information shortly regarding our technology and construction partners, and our programme of community benefits including opportunities for small businesses and local recruitment.”

The decision was welcomed by Richard Lochhead MSP, cabinet secretary for rural affairs, food and environment who said: “This is a significant investment, which will reduce the amount of waste going to landfill while generating energy to the grid.

“The Scottish Government has always made it clear that there can be a role for energy recovery from the limited amount of residual waste as landfill is phased out. This sits alongside our internationally ambitious targets for waste prevention and recycling as part of a suite of measures to make Scotland a greener, cleaner place to live.”

Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt. Hon. Alistair Carmichael MP, added: “This multi-million pound announcement is good news for Scotland’s growing economy and a welcome jobs boost for East Lothian.

“The UK Government’s plan for energy is to power growth and jobs as we build clean, secure electricity infrastructure for the future. This centre fits the bill and will help Scotland fulfil its enormous green energy potential powering thousands of homes, ensuring we are at the centre of the UK’s low carbon economy.”

Share icon
Share this article: