Plans for a controversial new landfill site near Auchtertool are progressing after those behind the blueprint requested a scoping opinion from Fife Council.
Adam Taylor Construction and Plant Hire is seeking the local authority’s formal view on the issues which should be considered in a wider environmental impact assessment (EIA) after acquiring the former Balbie landfill site near Balbie Farm.
The Warwickshire-based firm has confirmed its plans to develop a new fully-lined landfill site on areas of wetland and farmland, which will include landfilling with non-hazardous commercial, non-hazardous industrial and, if appropriate, hazardous waste, which it says would be “stable and non-reactive”
Fife Council has previously ruled the development may therefore cause “significant” environmental harm and has called for that potential to be assessed through an EIA.
The site itself, which is around 2km south-east of Auchtertool and to the south of the B9157 road which runs alongside Orrock Quarry, has formerly been the subject of land raising via landfilling, although those activities stopped in 1999.
Restoration activities were carried out in 2005, 2010 and 2011, and there is now established vegetation across what has been described in planning documents as “phase one”.
However, the company intends to re-profile that area to ensure site stability and introduce enhanced environmental management before turning its attention to “phase two”, which is a patch of land alongside it.
A statement from the company said: “Planning permission was previously granted on the phase two site in 1994 for the “disposal of inert materials and waste from industry and commerce”.
“This included raising the land to the same level as phase two. However, no waste disposal was undertaken and the planning permission has since lapsed.”
The company’s formal request for a scoping opinion stresses that mitigation measures will be imposed to ensure that relevant wildlife habitats and species are safeguarded; the surface water and groundwater regimes are not adversely affected by polluted run-off; noise is minimised to an acceptable degree; dust, particulate and odour emissions are suitably controlled; the development is suitably screened; traffic movements are managed; and the site is restored to a high standard in keeping with the surrounding area.
It is also noted the proposed development could interfere with the migratory routes of birds using the site and deter species, such as pink-footed geese, from feeding on nearby grassland.
“This is due to the possibility of increased noise, human activity, odour arising from the proposed development and the risk of the site attracting species such as rats and gulls,” the application adds.
All of those issues are expected to be addressed in the EIA, which is likely to look at the development’s effects on the water environment, hydrogeology, ecology and biodiversity, air quality, noise and vibration, and will also consider landscape and visual impacts.