Councillor calls on Aberdeenshire to pull out of energy from waste deal

Paul Johnston claims that, compared with disposal in energy from waste plants, composting of biodegradable waste generates far less carbon dioxide
Paul Johnston claims that, compared with disposal in energy from waste plants, composting of biodegradable waste generates far less carbon dioxide

A North-east councillor has tabled a last-gasp motion for Aberdeenshire Council to scrap its involvement in the multi-million pound Ness Energy Project.

Democratic Independent and Green Group councillor Paul Johnston’s proposal will be debated at a full meeting of the local authority on Thursday next week.

His motion has been deemed admissible by Provost Bill Howatson and will be heard during discussion on the energy from waste scheme which is expected to agree the appointment of preferred contract bidders Acciona.

In his motion, writes the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the Mid-Formartine councillor says increased efforts to recycle household waste combined with proposed deposit schemes on plastic bottles and a proposed complete ban on single use plastics are actually paving the way for major reductions in waste.

He states in his motion: “Energy from waste plants generate many toxins, pollutants and microscopic particles that can be harmful to human health and the natural environment.

“The large capacity of the proposed Ness Energy Project will generate demand for mixed waste and act as a perverse incentive to recycling and waste minimisation and may result in competition for limited supplies of commercial waste.”

Cllr Johnston stresses that, compared with disposal in energy from waste plants, composting of biodegradable waste generates “far less carbon dioxide” and produces material that improves soil unlike the burning of oil-derived plastics which “adds to carbon dioxide emissions like burning other fossil fuels”.

And he fears a repeat of instances where leading companies in the provision of energy from waste plants have run into financial difficulties while others are “ceasing their involvement with incineration”.

Under the Ness project, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray councils have an agreement to create a waste to energy plant in the Granite City.

Aberdeenshire will pay just under 48% of the build costs compared with the city’s 38% share and Moray’s 14%.

Councillors will be told on Thursday that a key benefit of locating the facility in East Tullos is the potential to alleviate fuel poverty in the Torry area through the provision of a linked district heating network – despite objections from local community councils.

But councillors will also be advised next week that the three-year build time could leave the council with a potential 15-month gap and a hefty £3million bill to dispose of residual waste in north of England landfill sites.