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M90 Commerce Park (Waste)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 28th November 2019.

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Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

4. To ask the Scottish Government, in light of public authorities not taking the necessary action to clear waste from the M90 Commerce Park at Lathalmond near Dunfermline, what action it can take to address local residents’ environmental concerns. (S5O-03842)

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

Responsibility for the site rests with the landowner, which is Trans-Britannia Properties Ltd. Following further correspondence from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the landowner has now agreed to meet SEPA and Fife Council to discuss site clearance options. That might be considered to be a small step forward, but it is a very important one.

SEPA continues to monitor the site and is content that it is not currently posing a risk to the environment or to human health. Therefore, the focus for the moment remains on working collaboratively with the landowner and other relevant parties, including Fife Council, to secure a positive outcome.

Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

When I met SEPA six to eight months ago, it said then that it was due to have a meeting with representatives of the landowner, so not a lot of progress has been made. More than 7,000 tonnes of carpets and plasterboard, the majority of which came from local authorities and other public authorities across Scotland, were dumped on the site. Surely the Government cannot allow that to continue year after year. It is an environmental disaster for which nobody seems to be willing to take any responsibility. Will the minister agree to meet me on the site to look at what can be done to address the issue?

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

I completely understand Alex Rowley’s concern and frustration. The issue has been on-going for a long time, which is why the meeting that has been secured will be a positive step forward. I am happy to meet him to discuss the matter, and to discuss how more progress can be made. It is very much the landowner’s responsibility to deal with the issue, which is why we are working with the landowner to ensure that it is dealt with as soon as possible.

Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

It does not seem to be fair that the local community and residents have to put up with such an eyesore. Why has the Scottish Government, or the local authority, not simply cleared the site and sorted out later who is responsible?

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

Again, I say that I completely understand the concern and frustration, especially because the situation has been going on for so long, and because people who live in the area are having to see and put up with the problem. We believe inherently that it should not be up to the public to pay for something that is the landowner’s responsibility. That is why we are determined to pursue all possible avenues for the landowner to take appropriate action first.