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Melville pong: Willie Rennie objects to ‘unnecessary’ recycling plant at controversial Fife landfill

Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie.
Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie.

A proposed recycling plant at a controversial Fife landfill has sparked an unusual objection by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie.

Fife councillors have been recommended to grant approval for Fife Resource Solutions’ planned Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) processing facility at Lower Melville Wood Landfill Site near Ladybank – the source of the so-called “Melville pong”.

Mr Rennie, MSP for North East Fife, took the rare step of formally objecting to a planning application, saying he is “very concerned”.

“I am taking the unusual step of submitting a formal objection to this planning application as the site is unnecessary,” he said.

“I normally do not get involved in planning issues but this is an exceptional issue that requires my involvement.”

Mr Rennie said the plant, which would remove large particles from incinerated waste for recycling elsewhere, was not needed because the Peterden IBA facility north of Dundee was not working at full capacity.

“The Peterden facility has been operating for years and has many years left to operate,” he said.

“Why on earth are we creating a new facility when there is already a facility closer to the Dundee incinerator that has been established for many years? It just does not make sense.

“The claims on extraction and use are exaggerated and the environmental impact of transporting it from Dundee are greater than the alternative in Peterden.

“I am very concerned that if they cannot find markets for the waste in the construction sector then it may be dumped at Lower Melville and Dunfermline.”

Lower Melville Wood Landfill Site.

Last year, Mr Rennie and local Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain launched a petition calling for action to be taken to address the foul smell coming from the landfill site. 

Neighbouring communities have been raising concerns about the odour from the council-run site for decades and it was last year subject to an enforcement order from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Despite council officers maintaining that planning conditions would minimise potential impacts such as from noise and dust, Neil Brooks, chairman of Giffordtown and District Community Council has said the plant would have a “major and severe impact on their quality of life.”

In addition to calling for the plans to be rejected when they are considered by North East Planning Committee on Wednesday, Mr Rennie said there should be no further development on the site while the smell from the landfill has yet to be addressed.

He added: “Local people around Lower Melville Wood have just had enough.

“For years they have been subjected to obnoxious smells from the landfill.

“The council should not even think about expanding facilities and activities at the site at least until the smell has been eliminated.

“Planners should reject this application without hesitation.”

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