MSP calls for clarity on Westfield incinerator plans

The regeneration of the former Westfield colliery site has a potential to create 2500 new jobs
The regeneration of the former Westfield colliery site has a potential to create 2500 new jobs

Concerns have been raised in Hollyrood over the number of incinerators that may be sited at the former Westfield opencast colliery site on the outskirts of Kinglassie.

Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, raised the issue of the Westfield masterplan at the Scottish Parliament during a debate on incinerators and planning policy, warning that there could soon be a rush of new incinerators if ministers do not tighten up waste regulations.

Mr Ruskell’s concerns followFife Council approved a masterplan for the former open cast coal mine near Kinglassie which included a 20 megawatt energy-from-waste facility.

The facility would burn waste from homes across Fife to create energy to be used locally.

Mr Ruskell claimed not all local residents had yet been made fully aware of the incinerator plan, as the developers focused on renewable energy generation and public access works when presenting the plans.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Ruskell told the Gazette; “We heard from MSPs from across the country who represent communities fighting plans for new incinerators.

“So much of it resonated with the situation at Westfield – residents feeling like they have not been adequately consulted, their concerns have not been listened to, and a planning system which is not geared up to deal with this new shift towards burning household rubbish.

“The masterplan at Westfield contains great potential, outlining how the site could be used for renewable energy facilities and turned into a local natural amenity.

“However I have real concerns about how decisions over where and how many incinerators to build are being made, and I’m not convinced planning policy has this issue under control.

“Decisions are being led by private developers and not a coherent plan from Government.”

Mr Ruskell met with Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham and Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Minister Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, to discuss the concerns.

“They’ve promised to look at producing a better assessment of what Scotland’s incineration needs will be once new bans on sending waste to landfill come in in 2021,” said Mr Ruskell.

“I hope this will result in clearer guidelines being put in place before any final decision is made about including an incinerator in the Westfield redevelopment.”