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The European waste incineration directive imposes stringent emission standards and controls on pyrolysis and other thermal treatment facilities. Before any new plant can begin operations, it must obtain a pollution prevention and control permit from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and, to obtain that, an operator is required to undertake a detailed environmental risk assessment to demonstrate that there will be no negative impact on the environment. Moreover, SEPA has a range of regulatory enforcement tools for dealing with each application.
Does the cabinet secretary agree that we need consistency with regard to applications for pyrolysis incinerators? A series of these plants are being located in communities across Scotland; indeed, the cabinet secretary’s colleagues have been campaigning in Perth against the pollutant-belching monstrosities proposed for their area while the same pyrolysis incinerators have been agreed in Carnbroe and Dovesdale in Lanarkshire. Is there not an inconsistency in the planning process that has to be addressed?
I recognise the concerns that have been expressed by communities, but a robust planning regime is in place as well as an environmental regime. Each application must be treated on its merits and, as the member’s question illustrates, there are examples of applications being refused by the authorities. The system is robust and the circumstances of each application must be taken into account.