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Graham’s Dairy hits back after Green MSP brands Fife operation ‘nightmare neighbour’

Graham's Dairy in Cowdenbeath.
Graham's Dairy in Cowdenbeath.

Graham’s Dairy described a Green MSP’s comments as “irresponsible and uninformed” after he branded the company a “nightmare neighbour”.

Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Mark Ruskell says the company’s site at Glenfield Industrial Estate in Cowdenbeath is causing “misery” for local residents because of noise nuisance.

Planning row

The Glenfield facility is currently subject to a controversial planning application for a bioenergy plant. It would use whey from the production of cheese to generate heat and power to fuel operations on site.

More than 300 letters of objection have been submitted in relation to the plans, including from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

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.

But people living metres from the site at Glenfield Industrial Estate fear it will be noisy, smell and will affect their health.

They have called on Fife Council to reject the plans.

Council service manager Linda Turner said the authority was investigating noise levels from Glenfield.

“Any new planning applications relating to the site would consider any noise implications relating to those proposals,” she added.

Mark Ruskell MSP.

But Mr Ruskell said the council could do more to resolve the dispute with residents.

“For over a year now, frequent low level noise from the Graham’s facility at the Glenfield Industrial Estate has been causing a misery for people living in neighbouring properties,” said the MSP.

“Fife Council has recognised the problem constitutes a statutory nuisance, but months after an abatement notice was issued the noise is still continuing.”

People’s homes should be a safe and peaceful place for them and their families.”

Mark Ruskell MSP

Mr Ruskell said: “During this time of lockdown, people’s homes should be a safe and peaceful place for them and their families, but being subject to persistent low level noise can make someone’s home a prison.

“Fife Council should use all their powers now to bring this anti-social noise to an end.

“Grahams have submitted two applications in the last year to expand their work at the site, but right now they’re proving to be a nightmare neighbour.

“They need to address the basic nuisance noise coming from their site before any consideration can be giving to new developments like the proposed anaerobic digestor.”

Company says comments put livelihoods at risk

Robert Graham, managing director for Graham’s The Family Dairy, said: “Mark Ruskell’s irresponsible and uninformed comments put Fife jobs and livelihoods at risk.”

Glenfield operates in full compliance with environmental standards.”

Robert Graham

Mr Graham said Mr Ruskell had previously declined invitations to visit the company’s sites and he invited the MSP to get in touch to discuss operations at Cowdenbeath.

“Mark’s apparent disinterest in our local economy is reflected in the inaccuracies of his comments,” he said.

“Glenfield operates in full compliance with environmental standards. Furthermore, we have, and will continue to work with Fife Council officials and our local councillor in addressing local issues as they arise.

“This approach is reflected in our family business investing over £5 million into Cowdenbeath since we rescued the site, saving 70 jobs and increasing this to 120 colleagues.

“In directing Fife Council to stop future investment through such ill-informed comments, Mark Ruskell’s reckless comments, presumably made with the forthcoming election in mind, show no understanding of the Fife economy.”

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