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Grahams Dairy: More than 300 object to plans for bioenergy plant three miles from Mossmorran

The Graham's Dairy site in Cowdenbeath.
The Graham's Dairy site in Cowdenbeath.

More than 300 people have objected to plans for a bioenergy plant just three miles from Mossmorran.

Graham’s Dairy wants to use whey from its cheese production to provide heat and power for its Cowdenbeath plant.

The zero carbon system would be a first for the dairy industry in Scotland and is aimed at cutting emissions in line with Scottish Government requirements.

People living metres from the site at Glenfield Industrial Estate fear it will be noisy and smelly and will affect their health.

They have called on Fife Council to reject the plans.

The ongoing disruption from Mossmorran has only compounded issues for the local community.”

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell.

Environment watchdog Sepa has also objected, saying Cowdenbeath residents have already been significantly impacted by flaring at the Mossmorran petrochemical plant over several years.

It said the fact the community is “already sensitised to environmental disruption” should be taken into account when the planning application is considered.

The regulator also pointed to several houses within 250 yards of the site, the required size of a buffer zone for operations such as anaerobic digestors.

The application seeks permission for an effluent treatment plant, including 40ft tanks, as well as pipes and pumps.

How the plant would look.

An emergency flare would combust gas during maintenance just 70-yards from the nearest house.

Graham’s said the process was innovative and would remove 18 trucks a week from the traffic flow to and from the creamery at Glenfield Industrial Estate.

The firm plans to cut the noise and air quality impact by installing a number of measures, including acoustic barriers and insulation.

However, Sepa said it had not been given enough information on site drainage, odour, noise and air impacts and objected on those grounds.

It called on Graham’s to withdraw the application to allow for further assessments.

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell said that while he supports efforts to cut climate change emissions, they must be in the right place.

“Sepa quite rightly highlights that the edge of a housing area in Cowdenbeath is not the right location for a facility like this.

The site has been the source of a number of complaints about noise in recent years and a major development so close to houses would only intensify that issue.

“As the Sepa report notes too the ongoing disruption from Mossmorran has only compounded issues for the local community.”

He added: “I hope the applicants will work with the council and Sepa to find a new location away from residential areas and closer to the sources of agricultural waste.”

Grahams’ managing director Robert Graham said it is important to build a sustainable environment for the next generation.

“Our plans for the Glenfield dairy in Cowdenbeath will mark a step change in investment within the dairy sector in zero carbon innovation, infrastructure and skills development to accelerate climate adaptation within industry,” he said.

“We will continue to work with Fife Council to address consultation responses on the application.

“As Cowdenbeath’s largest private sector employer, we remain committed to decarbonising the Glenfield site through innovative solutions, which will further safeguard and create local jobs”.

Graham’s is one of Scotland’s largest independently-run dairy businesses and operates from seven sites. It employs 150 people at its Cowdenbeath plant.

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