Delight for residents after controversial gas plant plans scrapped

The proposal had included the building of 10 gas engines.
The proposal had included the building of 10 gas engines.

Controversial plans to build a gas processing plant in a Fife town has been scrapped.

RWE Ltd, who already operate one of the UK’s largest biomass plants situated at the former Tiullis Russell papermill site in Glenrothes, has withdrawn a planning application to build a 19.9MW gas peaking plant next door.

The proposal had drawn dozens of objections from local residents and had been recommended for refusal by Fife Council’s Public and Environmental protection Team.

A spokesman for RWE said: “RWE recently submitted a planning application to develop ‘quick to start up’ power units next to Markinch CHP biomass site. The application consists of 10 small 2MW Embedded Containerised Gas Engines with a maximum capacity of 19.9MWe.

“This planning application closed for comments and we have been awaiting the final planning decision.

“We have been continuing the planning and scoping for this project and after a thorough evaluation have taken the decision to withdraw the planning application. It has come to light that we are unable to make the electrical connection of the proposed units viable at this point in time.”

The company added that it would now be evaluating and considering its options.

Residents in had voiced concerns regarding noise and operating times at the proposed plant at two public meeting to discuss the application. Around 100 letters of objection to the proposal had also been submitted.

Commenting on the decision to withdraw the application, Angela High, chairman of Markinch Community Council said: “News that RWE have withdrawn their application will be welcomed by many residents.

“However I think we can assume that RWE will re-examine their energy generation abilities and the viability of a peaker plant and therefore we should expect another application at a future date.

“Work will continue with SEPA regarding noise issues affecting residents from different sources, ensuring enforcement, when required, is undertaken and campaigning to increase the neighbour notification distance from the current 20m when dealing with developments of this kind.

“Many members of the community invested their time into this issue and I would like to thank them for their efforts.”