Residents feel they are under siege from industrial developers after learning there may be plans to bring yet another power plant to town.
Grangemouth will soon have Forth Energy’s massive biomass burning power station operating from the docks and there are also proposals from Summit Power for a carbon capture plant, which has listed Grangemouth as its preferred site, to be included in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming National Planning Framework.
Now the town could be home to a third power facility as a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the community council revealed Falkirk Council had been in talks with Air Products PLC regarding a waste burning renewable energy plant.
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald, who recently called for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to open an office in Grangemouth to monitor the town’s chemical firms, responded to residents’ concerns Grangemouth was becoming Scotland’s “power plant capital”.
He said: “I have asked Air Products’ managing director for a meeting to discuss their plans, but it is extremely premature to class Grangemouth as Scotland’s power plant capital.
“Not one brick has been laid, with many stringent conditions still to be met with regard to the Forth Energy biomass application before it can proceed, while the Summit Power plant is still being consulted on as a proposal and is nowhere near securing planning permission.
“And the Air Products suggestion is only at the notional stage, with no firm proposals coming forward to date.”
Falkirk Council confirmed no planning applications had been brought before them as yet, but the FOI uncovered two meetings had taken place between council officers and representatives of Air Products in the last 12 months.
The subject of one of the meetings was the council’s treatment options for residual waste, while the other meeting focused on Air Products’ submission to the Scottish Government to make their proposals a candidate for national development in the new National Planning Framework.
Both meetings were arranged at the request of Air Products.
Concerned Grangemouth resident Kathleen McIntosh said: “It’s obvious Air Products plan to import vast quantities of local authority waste from all over Scotland, stopping it from going to landfill, and burn it in Grangemouth to produce electricity.
“Falkirk Council and the Scottish Government both seem enthusiastic about the plan to build yet another power station in Grangemouth. There seems to be no consideration about the negative impact it will have on residents.”
Air Products said this week it was still early days regarding the proposals and would not confirm or deny they had met with Falkirk Council officers.
A spokesman said: “We are about to open our first facility in Teeside and as yet there is nothing confirmed about any other sites in the UK. We will make an announcement if anything is confirmed.”
Based in Pennsylvania in the USA and in Hersham, Surrey, in the UK, Air Products is currently building the world’s largest renewable energy facility in Tees Valley, in the north east of England.
The development incorporates advanced gasification energy-from-waste technology and will reportedly divert 350,000 tonnes of waste from landfill, provide renewable electricity for up to 50,000 homes and create up to 700 jobs during its construction and 50 permanent jobs once it enters commercial operation in 2014.