SEPA grilled over Markinch biomass plant

The meeting was well attended
The meeting was well attended
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The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) have faced a public grilling over their monitoring of activity at the new Markinch biomass plant.

David Fisher from SEPA’s technical support unit fielded questions at a public meeting on Monday evening, jointly arranged by Markinch and North Glenrothes community council’s, following concerns raised by residents in both areas that live close to the newly built RWE Innogy-owned facility.

SEPA have continued to monitor progress at the combined heat and power (CHP) plant as its owners work through , what they claim, are the final stages of commissioning process.

Mr Fisher told the gathering of approximately 40 residents he “anticipated excess noise levels to stop” once the plant was fully operational.

Mr Fisher also confirmed that both RWE and paper manufacturer Tullis Russell, who operate on the same site will work towards a “synchronised summer shut-down programme” in an attempt to further reduce the possibility of future noise issues.

A number of residents in Prestonhall and Cadham expressed their concern over noise issues relating to the site, in particular steam venting, vehicle noise, light pollution and emissions, dust concerns were also discussed.

Issues surrounding the storage of wood fuel at Cardenden were also raised with SEPE confirming they were to follow up on concerns.

A number of community groups also attended the meeting, as did Ian Calvert, RWE’s head of UK biomass operations and Ian Gaunt, plant manager of the Markinch facility. Members of the the environmental pressure group Biofuel Watch were also in attendance.

However, representatives from Tullis Russell, who also operate from the site were not present, despite being invited.

Following the meeting Ron Page, from North Glenrothes Community Council said he had been encouraged by much of what SEPA had said.

He added: “I find it disappointing that representatives from Tullis Russell felt the need not to attend tonight, it may be prudent for them to do so in future going by the depth of public feeling.”