‘Come clean’ on dust issue - say Cardenden residents

Local residents protest at the site
Local residents protest at the site

Residents in a Fife village are claiming their lives are being made a misery by the amount of dust from a nearby wood recycling plant.

And, along with community leaders in Cardenden, they met face-to-face with the owners of Bowhill restoration processing plant this week demanding that they ‘come clean’ over the growing concern among those living nearby.

They say people have been forced to keep windows closed and a fine dust residue has been left on vehicles, windows and garden furnishings.

Now they have called upon owners RWE Innogy UK Ltd., for a more stringent and robust method of dust monitoring and for transparency over whether the particles emanating from the large storage mounds of wood chippings, pose any risk to the human health or the surrounding environment.

The operation provides fuel for the Biomass plant in Markinch 11 miles away, and with a planning application to extend Saturday working hours by a further four hours on up to 20 occasions a year, approved by Fife Council planners earlier this month, residents say they are bracing themselves for more concerns over their long-term health due to plant.

“The main problem we anticipate is emergencies occurring more frequently, due to breakdowns at their Glenrothes biomass plant, David Taylor, secretary of Cardenden Community Council, told the Press.

“This is caused by blockages in the fuel silo feed system and requires the material to be dug out and transported back to Bowhill, because there is no storage space at Glenrothes.

“The Bowhill site was never intended for this purpose and causes additional dust with lorries having to be unloaded and reloaded, as well as with the additional material being stockpiled, to a height of 20 feet, on site.

Mr Taylor’s concerns were echoed by fellow community councillor Rosemary Liewald.

She said: “The plant is part of the community whether we like it or not and with the lifespan expected to be at least for the next 25 years we will have to live with it.

“What we need now is for RWE bosses to come clean on just what is blowing from those mounds and what improvements they can make to reduce the problems and concerns faced by around 7000 residents living in the surrounding area.”

Councillor Ian Chisholm, a member of the planning committee which approved the extended hours said he was disappointed that he couldn’t convince councillors to reject the application.

“I feel sorry for them as they will effectively be trading their quiet Saturday afternoons to the profit of this commercial concern,” he said.

Representatives from RWE and Fife Council’s environmental team met with community councillors and residents from Cardenden this week to discuss concerns regarding dust from the site.

An agreement to conduct further dust monitoring was agreed and residents have been invited to take a tour of the site next month.

A spokesman for RWE Innogy UK Ltd., told the Press: “RWE takes its operational impact on the local community very seriously.

“At the Bowhill Liaison Group meeting on Monday, RWE listened to, and took on board, the community’s concerns over dust particles.

“In addition to the £150,000 spent on dust suppression technologies to date, we have now undertaken to implement further actions on site to reduce any potential for dust issues.

“To enable group members to fully understand what activities take place at Bowhill, a site visit has been arranged for late October.”

The invite to visit the site has been welcomed by David Taylor, secretary of Cardenden Community Council, who said would allow the two parties to discuss the issues in detail.