Death blow for Grundon waste-to-energy plant

Councillor Lewis Simpson, Councillor Peter Barrett and campaigner Victor Clements celebrate news of the plan's defeat.
Councillor Lewis Simpson, Councillor Peter Barrett and campaigner Victor Clements celebrate news of the plan's defeat.

Campaigners who fought a waste to energy plant on Perth’s waterfront are celebrating news that the controversial plan is finally dead.

The window of opportunity for Grundon Waste Management to appeal against a refusal by the Scottish ministers has passed, allowing protesters to breathe a sigh of relief.

The people of Perth were praised for their steadfast opposition to the Shore Road project.

Council leader Ian Miller said: “The community groups and individuals who stood against this deserve praise and congratulations for seeing this lengthy process through to a conclusion.

“It is rare to see such a widespread and united opposition to any proposal that comes to our council.

“From the man in the street, right up to our MP, MSPs and councillors, we saw a united front in opposing the application and it has ultimately paid off. I could not be more delighted.”

Councillor Peter Barrett, who has been a vociferous opponent of the plan, said it was “great news for Perth and the final nail in the Shore Road incinerator’s coffin”.

“Everyone I have spoken to is delighted that the incinerator plan is gone for good,” he said.

“The relief has been palpable, the only things people want to see burning on the Shore Road are the annual Guy Fawkes bonfire and fireworks.

“Once again I would like to thank everyone who campaigned to stop the incinerator. We owe an immense debt of gratitude to the local residents, community councils and civic groups who objected to the application and fought for its opposition.

“It has been a war of attrition and, finally, those efforts have paid off.

“I am sure that Grundon’s only interest in Perth was because of the almost fatal mistake the council made in awarding outline planning consent to the Shore Road site and, thankfully, that consent has expired.

“Combine that with the two previous refusals and two failed appeals for Shore Road and the chances of anyone pursuing that particular site have to be so remote as to be negligible. They’d have to be daft to try again.”

The tortuous planning tale started when Oxfordshire-based Grundon was given outline planning permission by Perth and Kinross Council in 2006. An initial plan was rejected in December 2009 and a subsequent appeal was dismissed in November 2010.

A second application was knocked back by the local authority in February 2012, which led to Grundon appealing to the Scottish Government’s directorate for planning and environmental appeals.

Labelled a “pollution-belching monstrosity” by Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart, the proposal met a wave of local objectors, including Perth and Kinross Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

The Scottish Prison Service even claimed inmates at Perth Prison could have rioted over the noise and vibration from the plant.

An eight-day public inquiry was held in Perth in December last year and, following months of waiting, reporter Dannie Onn finally revealed that he had decided against the scheme.

The council confirmed the application has reached the end of the road.

“The original outline planning consent for the incinerator has now lapsed as a consequence of the initial and subsequent applications for the approval of details both having been refused by the council and then by the Scottish Government after two appeals,” said a spokesman.

“Therefore, there is no longer an outline consent relating to the site. If the applicants, Grundon Waste Management Ltd, wished to pursue a further proposal, they would have to reapply to the council.

“Any such application would then be assessed taking into account the decisions of the Scottish Government Reporter.”

Efforts to obtain a statement from Grundon were unsuccessful.