Polmont waste plant faces threat

01/02/12. John Devlin.  POLMONT. Avondale Quarry. Advanced Waste Treatment Centre official opening by Environment Minister Richard Lochhead.

01/02/12. John Devlin. POLMONT. Avondale Quarry. Advanced Waste Treatment Centre official opening by Environment Minister Richard Lochhead.

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A £20 million recycling facility is under threat of closure just a year after opening.

Avondale Advanced Waste Treatment Ltd said shutting the Polmont plant is an option it has been forced to consider due to “challenging” market conditions.

The state-of-the-art advanced waste treatment site, which opened on February 1 last year, was hailed as a “nationally important” recycling site, but its future is now in doubt after management consulted its 70 staff about possible redundancies and even closure.

A spokesman for the company said: “Avondale Advanced Waste Treatment Ltd has completed a comprehensive review of trading conditions in the waste disposal and recycling market.

“The current market conditions are proving very challenging and we are considering a number of options in response to this issue.

“Whilst no decisions have been taken we have now written to staff employed at the Materials Recycling Facility to invite them to elect employee representatives who can consult with us.”

Environment Minister Richard Lochhead opened the plant, which he said was an important step to helping Scotland become a ‘Zero Waste’ nation by 2025.

The site is capable of processing 200,000 tonnes of waste a year – the equivalent of all of Glasgow’s black bin waste a year – harvesting materials like plastic, glass, aluminium and metal which is sold on.

When it opened Avondale had planned to divert 90 per cent of the waste from its neighbouring landfill site to the facility by 2015 through thermal drying and advanced thermal treatment facilities, which were to be added at the centre.

The site also saves Falkirk Council money in landfill tax.

Council Leader Craig Martin said: “We are extremely disappointed to hear of the uncertainty surrounding the MRF at Avondale.

“We will be speaking further to the company over the next few days seeking clarification of the current situation both in terms of jobs on site and the potential implications for the council in terms of the recycling services supplied by the company.”