‘Site needs government cash to stay open’

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.

Falkirk Council is urging residents to recycle more to save it money in landfill tax after the announcement a £20 million recycling plant will close.

Seventy jobs are to go at the waste recycling plant in Polmont after Avondale Advanced Waste Treatment said its material recycling facility (MRF) site will shut on May 31.

The firm say “challenging” market conditions are to blame.

Director John Holt said: “Having carefully considered all of the issues and options, we have proposed to close the MRF from May 31, 2013, and have started collective redundancy consultation with employee representatives. Right now, our priority is to work with staff throughout the process and to keep our customers fully informed.”

The closure will mean extra costs for Falkirk Council in landfill tax as the local authority avoids a higher levy by sending waste to the MRF.

Councillor Craig Martin, Falkirk Council leader, said: “The additional costs the council faces will be dependent on the how much material we send to landfill, so it is vitally important everyone continues to reduce the amount of waste they throw away and recycle as much as they possibly can.

“We sent around 40,000 tonnes of waste material to the site last year of which, over 50 per cent could have been recycled at home. We will be looking at the options open to the council in the coming days but alternative arrangements will be available and in place by the end of the month.”

The Scottish Government said it is working with Avondale to “minimise” the impact on employees and has a redundancy initiative, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment, on standby for support.

A spokesperson said: “This will be an anxious time for Avondale’s employees and their families and the Scottish Government will offer them every support possible.”