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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

Perth & Kinross

Glenfarg landfill operator fined over pollution excess

May 1 2015

A landfill operator has been fined £20,000 for failing to deal with an excess of a potentially polluting liquid at its Perthshire site. SITA UK admitted two offences of breaching the conditions of its environmental permit for its landfill site at Binn Landfill, Glenfarg. They pleaded guilty to failing to control the levels of leachate, a potentially polluting liquid which could cause harmful effects on groundwater and surface water. Landfills may produce leachate that has elevated concentrations of contaminants such as ammoniacal nitrogen, heavy metals and organic compounds. To protect surrounding resources, however, such sites have specific limits set on the levels of leachate that can be reached. Perth Sheriff Court heard that within three leachate wells at the Binn Landfill site, levels were in excess of the two metre limit for four months between December 2012 and April 2013. The company, which operates at more than 300 locations throughout the UK, admitted that between December 2012 and June 2013 they failed to ensure that accumulation at the low point of each distinct leachate collection system was kept below two metres depth. SITA UK, based at SITA House, Grenfell Road, Maidenhead, also pleaded guilty to a charge that, on seven occasions between January 2013 and March 2013, they failed to notify the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) that leachate levels had exceeded two metres depth and failed to take effective steps to minimise the malfunction and reduce the levels of leachate. Peter Gray QC, defending, stated: “The breaches did not lead to any appreciable environmental damage.” Sheriff Simon Collins said: “The work may be complex and challenging but this is the work this company has carried out over many years on many sites. “This created a risk of harm rather than actual harm but if it had materialised harm was likely to be significant.” Sepa senior environment protection officer Calum McGregor said: “The two-metre limit for the leachate is required to ensure that the base and sides of the landfill provide a barrier between the landfill and the environment. “By failing to maintain the level below two metres, SITA UK put the environment at risk.”

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Waste consultation launched in Fife in bid to avoid £15 million bill

December 13 2017

Communities and businesses across the region are being urged to help Fife Council avoid a waste bill of up to £15 million a year by 2021. Last year, the local authority sent 112,000 tonnes of waste to landfill, costing taxpayers £9.5 million. However, due to legislative changes and a forthcoming landfull ban on all biodegradable waste, the price tag could soon be up to 50% greater within just three years. With that in mind, Fife Council is drawing up a new waste strategy for the kingdom, and Fifers are being encouraged to get involved in helping to cut waste, increase recycling and make financial savings. Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of Fife Council’s environment, protective services and community safety committee, explained: “Putting waste, which could be recycled, into the blue landfill bin is an irresponsible waste of public money. “We all need to follow the lead of those people who are already properly recycling their waste and help develop a more circular economy — where we recycle more and reuse what we can thereby reducing waste. “With the forthcoming ban on land-filling biodegradable household waste and increases in costs, waste disposal costs in Fife are set to rise from approximately £9.5 million to £15 million per year.” Fife’s current recycling rate is 55% and a further 4% of waste is diverted through energy recovery. However, 41% of Fife’s waste still goes to landfill. Research reveals that a considerable amount — more than 50% — of material being put into blue landfill bins could be recycled or composted. Mr Vettraino pointed out that Fife’s recycling rate sees the region in the top five best performing Scottish councils, but noted that the increase has levelled off over the last six years. “With an increasing population, accommodating the consequential increase in waste growth is a real challenge,” he admitted. “If more waste is sent for recycling, less waste would have to be land-filled and there would be savings in landfill tax. “Reducing landfill waste means that we’ll have more money to spend on essential services, like schools and social care.” Council staff will be at Kirkcaldy’s Mercat Shopping Centre on Thursday from 11am to 3pm to encourage people to have their say on the new waste strategy, while people can also take a survey online at www.fifedirect.org.uk/dontwasteit.

Angus & The Mearns

No muck, no bras as Angus dumps catwalk cowp

April 20 2018

An Angus dump which found fame as the world’s most unlikely haute couture catwalk has been binned. Restenneth on the outskirts of Forfar shot into the global spotlight when top British designer Stella McCartney selected it as the unusual setting for a summer shoot, bringing top models north to pose among bin bags, tattered newspapers and rusting cars in £1,000 dresses. The rubbish runway’s reputation then spread to Europe and hot on the high heels of McCartney’s film crew, an Italian Vogue entourage arrived for another arty shoot which was premiered to an international audience of the industry’s movers and shakers at the Milan Fashion show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7up1bG5d00&t=46s In the second production, entitled Allegory of Water, model Julia Campbell-Gillies was filmed next to a heap of discarded mattresses as digger works away on countless tonnes of local waste. While the Angus site may have stumbled upon the unusual power to lure international fashion types, council chiefs have revealed there is now less demand for its prime function and Restenneth has received its last landfill load. Angus environmental services chief Graeme Dailly told communities councillors landfilling at the site east of Forfar had ended at the beginning of this month and the final cell of the sprawling dump will be capped later this year. Restenneth has been used by the council for residual waste since 1999, but a procurement exercise last November led to independent firm MVV being appointed to manage the disposal of residual waste for both Angus and neighbouring Dundee City Council. https://vimeo.com/254835375?ref=tw-share MVV have taken over operation of the Forties Road site at Baldovie in Dundee, which has a capacity of 110,000 tonnes per annum, and Angus residual waste is already heading there. That left Restenneth taking only rubbish from private businesses, but councillors heard that in the last three months only five local firms had made infrequent use of the site. “Over the last few years, the use of Restenneth by private businesses has declined rapidly through the introduction of the landfill tax levy, rising to £88.95 in April,” the committee report added. Council bosses hailed the unexpected international focus on Forfar’s finest dump when the fashionistas flocked to it and there remains a glimmer of hope that it may hold future appeal for photographers of a different breed. “A proposal  concept for the new restoration profile is in already in place and ready to be implemented, which includes tree/shrub planting, the shallowing out of existing slopes and the introduction of a wetland to the remaining void to support the wildlife and birds that frequently use Restenneth,” the report added.  


Seeing rubbish tip where Corrie McKeague may be buried like staring into hell, says father

March 8 2017

The father of missing Corrie McKeague described seeing the landfill site where he may be buried as like staring into hell. Martin McKeague and wife Trisha visited the rubbish tip in Milton, near Cambridge, on Tuesday as police began their search. The massive dump has become the focus of the hunt for RAF gunner Corrie since it emerged a bin lorry which collected in the area where he was last seen weighed more than first thought. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); There have been dramatic developments in the search for missing Royal Air Force serviceman Corrie McKeague continues. Our reporter Carla Prater has the latest from a landfill site in Milton, Cambridgeshire, where police are currently searching…http://www.forces.net/news/missing-corrie-bin-lorry-waste-found-weigh-over-100kg Posted by Forces News on Wednesday, 8 March 2017 Corrie, originally from Dunfermline but based at RAF Honington, went missing after a night out in Bury St Edmunds, on September 24 CCTV footage showed him walking into a loading bay known as The Horseshoe at 3.25am but he was never seen coming back out. A private refuse lorry emptied a bin from The Horseshoe early on the Saturday morning. It has since emerged the lorry’s load was incorrectly weighed and was actually much heavier than previously thought. Corrie’s mother, Nicola Urquhart said the discovery could mean “only one thing.” Martin, a former binman for Perth and Kinross Council, said: “Honestly, it was like staring into a little piece of hell. “We’ve been agonising over this day since it became the strongest line of enquiry into Corrie’s disappearance. “The thought that my son could be buried somewhere underfoot in a landfill site is probably the most excruciating thought a parent can have.” Corrie McKeague: Mother says bin lorry mistake “can only mean one thing” Martin, of Cupar, said he and Trisha shook the hands of officers about to carry out what he said was a “hellish task” which he wished he could help with but is not allowed. He said: “These people have a mammoth task ahead, and the Suffolk police have carried out this investigation with class and integrity, and have made this search possible. “The McKeague family in Scotland has given them our unwavering support since this investigation began, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.” Mrs Urquhart, of Dunfermline, said it was inevitable her son’s body would be found in the landfill site. Police said the weight of the bin lorry’s load was originally thought to be 11kg, too light for a body, but is now known to have been more than 100kg. The vehicle followed a route which appeared to coincide with the signal from Corrie’s mobile phone, said Suffolk Police. In an interview with the BBC Nicola said: “We know we are going to find Corrie in the landfill, it’s just a matter of time now.” She said there was no way realistically that her son was not in the bin collected. She said: “Regardless of how he has ended up in there I don’t understand how the process has allowed him to get into landfill. “That was the one thing that was trying to keep me believing Corrie could still be alive. “I was so sure, because of what the police have said to us, that he couldn’t go through that process. It doesn’t appear that that’s the case now. “It’s really difficult to accept.” The search of the landfill site began on Monday, after 8,000 tonnes of material was moved to make it safe, and is expected to take 10 weeks. A 26-year-old man arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice last week has been told he will face no further action. He was arrested after police discovered the discrepancy in the vehicle’s weight, however detectives now believe there was no attempt to hide information.


Landfill search for missing Corrie McKeague to resume on Monday

October 20 2017

A search of a landfill site as part of the investigation into the disappearance of missing Fife airman Corrie McKeague is to resume on Monday. Suffolk Police confirmed that search teams will be back at the Milton landfill next week as the hunt for the 23-year-old gunner is again stepped up. Corrie has not been seen since September 24 2016, when he vanished after a night out in Bury St Edmunds. The movement of his phone signal matched that of a bin lorry that picked up rubbish bins in the early hours that morning, prompting police to focus their probe on the landfill site in more recent months. That was halted after 20 weeks of painstaking searching in all conditions, but police subsequently committed to revisiting the landfill after new information came to light. The extended search, which is likely to take around four to six weeks and will start on Monday morning, will concentrate on an area next to the section of site which was searched previously. A Suffolk Police spokesperson said: “The indications are this is the next most likely area where Corrie could be. “Careful re-checking of the data available to the Major Investigation Team has concluded the area of the original 20-week search is still the location where there was the highest likelihood of finding Corrie. “However, the nature of waste disposal and its movement is not a precise science, hence the requirement to extend the search.” Corrie’s mum Nicola Urquhart marked the year’s anniversary of her son’s disappearance last month by retracing his last known movements in Bury St Edmunds. CCTV images captured Corrie entered an area of town known as the Horseshoe at about 3.25am on September 24 last year, but no trace of him has been found since. © PAMissing Corrie McKeague. The landfill site at Milton is around the size of 68 football pitches, with the size of Cell 22 – the area where the previous search was conducted – alone covering around 10,000 square metres. Suffolk Police say the volume of the new area being searched is around 1,831 cubic metres.

Perth & Kinross

Binn Farm landfill site four-year extension comes with a warning

February 16 2012

The operator of Binn Farm has been warned to maintain the ”high standards” it has developed over the last five years. Councillor Willie Wilson issued the advice on Wednesday after approval was given for a four-year time extension on the existing landfill site at Glenfarg. The convener of Perth and Kinross Council’s development control committee urged SITA UK not to become complacent over its relatively improved record of complaints. ”The applicants should continue the improvement process and reinforce that,” Mr Wilson said. ”If you take away a message today, it is that we are working on this but only on the understanding that the improvements continue and are reinforced in the future. ”We will be keeping a very close eye on you.” Members had earlier heard how enforcement action taken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) was largely responsible for the drop in complaints from the local community over the last year. Many attributed this work to influencing their decision to back the plans for the landfill site to remain open until June 30 2018. Councillor Wilma Lumsden said: ”As one of the local members for Abernethy, I have great sympathy for the people living there who have had to put up with the odour from the landfill site for so long. ”I have to agree that it has been better in recent times and much of that has been down to SEPA and their diligence and monitoring of the site in responses to complaints. ”They have imposed improvements on SITA UK when these have been deemed to be necessary and have made a tremendous difference.” Issues raised by residents were also flagged up during the meeting and SITA UK’s planning manager Annemarie Wilshaw was grilled on the company’s response to odour and litter blowing from the Binn Farm site to the nearby village of Abernethy. She advised members that there were protocols in place which ensured that any debris was collected immediately and, if there were any issues about odours, staff would try to track down the source as a matter of urgency. Ms Wilshaw added that the increased level of recycling had led to the need for a time extension and that, if the success rate continues, she may have to return to council. ”The landfill must be completely full before we can cap it,” she said. ”We are not asking for any extension to the size of the site, it is what it is, but we have a current input rate that has halved in five years, so we need more time to fill that hole. ”An end date in 2018 is the best we can give with current input rates, but I cannot guarantee that I won’t be standing here in four years’ time if recycling reaches the ‘Zero Waste’ standards of the Scottish Government.”

No trace of missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague as landfill search ends

December 11 2017

The landfill search for missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague has concluded without finding any trace of him. A 20-week search of the site at Milton near Cambridge finished earlier this year, and a second search, lasting seven weeks, finished on Monday. More than 2,800 tonnes of waste was searched during the second phase. Corrie McKeague went missing in September last year (Suffolk Police/PA) Suffolk Police said the investigation into Mr McKeague’s disappearance would remain open. Mr McKeague was 23 when he was last seen walking through Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in September 2016 after a night out with friends. It is thought he may have climbed into a waste bin and was taken away by a bin lorry, prompting the landfill search. A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “Police are content Corrie is not in the landfill areas which have now been searched. Police have completed the search of a second area at the #Milton landfill site as part of their inquiry to find Corrie McKeague.Read more – https://t.co/olKpRMmRHT— Suffolk Police (@SuffolkPolice) December 11, 2017 “The inquiry team has identified all the other possible locations where waste has been deposited from the area in Bury St Edmunds known as the ‘horseshoe’ and there are no further realistic search opportunities at this time. “As previously stated, the nature of waste disposal and its movement is not an exact science.” A review of the investigation to date agreed that it was most likely that Mr McKeague ended up in the waste disposal process. If you have any information in regards to Corrie mckeague, please get in contact. Thank you #FIndcorrie pic.twitter.com/ytBb25iegv— Find Corrie (@findcorrie) August 8, 2017 Detective Superintendent Katie Elliott said: “We are still committed to continuing with the inquiry. “There are a number of other theories about what could have happened to Corrie and we are continuing to test the evidence to help us understand what happened to Corrie, which will assist in providing answers to his family. “We feel it is important to explain to the family what we are doing, so they have the opportunity to understand and question what we have done, and why we have done it. “We are acutely aware of the immense strain the last 15 months has placed upon Corrie’s loved ones.” Mr McKeague’s mother Nicola Urquhart said she was confident that if her son was in the landfill, the search team would have found him. Nicola Urquhart retraced her son’s final steps in Bury St Edmunds exactly a year after his disappearance (Joe Giddens/PA) “We now know Corrie is not in the landfill,” she said, adding that the search for her son is “still very much a live investigation”. His father Martin McKeague said the family sent their “heartfelt appreciation” to all involved in the search. Mr McKeague, from Fife but based at RAF Honington in Suffolk, was last seen on CCTV at 3.25am on September 24 2016. His girlfriend, April Oliver, announced in June that the missing serviceman had become a father with the birth of their daughter. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Reporters'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '55d89481-833a-41fe-bc11-a1efb696a665'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'No trace of missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague as landfill search ends'});

Angus & The Mearns

Six-figure cell expansion for high fashion Angus dump

September 26 2017

A £750,000 extension to an Angus dump which recently became the world’s most unusual high fashion catwalk is on the cards. Restenneth, on the outskirts of Forfar, receives around 30,000 tonnes of Angus waste from kerbside collections and recycling centres annually. With the current section of the sprawling site east of the burgh due to reach capacity in a little over a year, Angus Council waste chiefs say the £765,000 for the next landfill ‘cell’ is vital to ensure the county continues to have a secure destination for its rubbish. However, the site’s days are numbered, with new regulations due to come into force within just years which will require the authority to find a new destination for biodegradable waste. Communities committee councillors are being asked to sign off the six-figure spend for the site, which earlier this year hosted a fashion shoot for the latest designs of international fashion icon Stella McCartney. Models were snapped against the backdrop of the dump in a shoot which the daughter of Beatle Sir Paul McCartney said was designed to stay true to her commitment of sustainability and responsibility. Angus Council head of housing, regulatory and protective services, in his report to Tuesday’s committee says Restenneth has a vital role to play in Angus. “The Restenneth landfill site and the adjacent Lochhead landfill site, now closed, have systems in place to collect methane gas and treat leachate,” he states. “A leachate treatment plant is located on site. An engine on site is used to transform recovered methane gas into electricity, which is sold back into the main grid. “The management and development of landfill sites are heavily regulated by SEPA and there is a requirement for new landfill cells to be fully lined and isolated from surrounding land.” Mr Ball adds: “Restenneth landfill site is made up of a series of cells that have been filled then capped. The current landfill cell is forecast to be filled to capacity in spring 2018. “Given the longer term requirement for landfilling of Angus Council collected residual waste there is the requirement to develop a new landfill cell. The cell will be designed to provide capacity for approximately two years of residual waste based on current forecasts.” “The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 introduces a ban on biodegradable waste to landfill from January 1 2021, therefore an alternative disposal method and destination will need to be identified once this cell has been filled.”