Danger site given new start

Haulage firm to move in to controversial former Re-Chem site

THE transformation of a controversial former waste disposal plant moved a step closer.

A family haulage firm has been given planning approval to relocate to the Re-Chem site which has lain empty for over 20 years.

The incinerator plant at Roughmute, near Bonnybridge, closed in the early 1980s following fears over the impact on the community from the potentially lethal waste it handled.

Earlier this year, bosses at Ian Craig (Haulage) Ltd revealed they had bought the site after months of negotiotations with waste management company Shanks & McEwen, who owned the land. Now Falkirk Council has rubber stamped plans for the building work to take place.

Acquiring the land will safeguard 50 jobs as the haulage company needs larger premises and there is no room to expand at their present location in Broomhill Road, High Bonnybridge.

But before the sale went through, brothers Kevin, Colin and Alan Craig had the site stringently checked by environmental experts and have been given an assurance there are no contamination threats.

However, as an added precaution, they intend to cover the ground in concrete before work on the yard, offices and maintenance shed begins.

Partner Kevin Craig hopes building work will begin in January and the business will have transferred to the new site by next summer.

The firm already operates 40 vehicles and 70 trailers but predict having more vehicles after the move which would bring extra jobs.

Mr Craig said: "We desperately need to move as our present site is too small. We didn't want to have to move out of the area as nearly all our staff are local."

He added part of the site will be leased to one of the firm's present customers, Hanson.

Re-Chem opened in 1974 as an incinerator for dangerous chemicals, including PCBs which can produce the lethal chemical dioxin if not burned properly.

But it was forced to close 10 years later amid claims it caused birth defects in local children and cattle on nearby farms.

The company announced plans to demolish the Bonnybridge chimney in 1985 but after lengthy behind-the-scenes wrangling, it wasn't until August 1996 that the go-ahead was finally given and another 18 months before the work was carried out.

jill.buchanan@falkirkherald.co.uk