Braes planning application gets go ahead - despite 1200 objections

A controversial planning application to remove a condition attached to a former brickworks site has been granted by a Scottish Government reporter.

By Kirsty Paterson
Sunday, 13th September 2020, 12:14 pm

The decision was made despite 1200 objections to Falkirk Council about the proposed change at Craigend, near Standburn, and a further 70 to the reporter.

The residents – led by local community councils – were outraged by the application from Anglo Scottish Biosolids Ltd, which asked Falkirk Council to remove a condition that meant only inert construction materials could be processed on the site.

In their objections, many said they feared that removing the condition would pave the way for ASBL to process sewage sludge, although the company has strongly denied this

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Former Craigend brickworks near Standburn

ASBL argued that it was up to SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) to decide what type of waste should be processed and that the planning condition was unnecessary.

Falkirk’s planning committee disagreed – but by the time members discussed the application, the matter was already in the hands of the Scottish Government reporter.

Objectors said they were worried about the impact on the environment as well as increased noise, more HGV traffic and odours.

Several also raised concerns about the possibility of water-borne contamination, pointing out that the water-course which passes under Craigend flows into neighbouring land which is used for animal grazing.

Others told the reporter that they do not believe SEPA has sufficient powers to control what happens on the site.

In her decision notice, the reporter said she had noted the residents’ comments.

She tried to address their fears about noise, saying the operating hours should be Monday-Friday, 8 am-6pm, Saturday, 8 am-1 pm and no operations on a Sunday.

Her report states: “I consider that the proposed operating hours, combined with the location of the screening and crushing equipment inside the large shed to the west of the site, would avoid significant adverse noise impacts on neighbouring residential properties.”

She notes: “Given that no additional traffic movements are proposed, I consider that although the proposal would alter the types of waste involved, itwould make no significant change to the overall amount of waste to be processed.

“On traffic, I find that by controlling the amount of waste, the licence could,by implication, put a cap on vehicle movements.

“Nevertheless, in this particular case, given the concerns raised by local residents, and the fact that the appellant has confirmed the proposed operating hours and traffic movements, I consider that it would be appropriate to include relevant planning conditions on these matters.”

She also addressed fears that sewage sludge would be processed, saying: “Whilst there is no specific evidence that the processing of human waste is part of the proposal, the waste management licence would address the impacts of specific types of waste.”

In conclusion, she said: “Subject to appropriate regulation under the waste management licence, I am satisfied that the site is capable of handling a wider range of waste streams and that they are unlikely to raise adverse planning issues.”

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