Zero Waste Project: Energy from Waste Update
The Sub Committee had before it a report by the Director of Communities, Housing and Infrastructure which provided an update on the Energy from Waste Project.
The report recommended:
(a) that the Committee notes the report; and
(b) invites the Project Director to attend the next Zero Waste Sub Committee meeting.
The Convener introduced Councillor Yvonne Allan to the meeting as a local member.
Mr Lawrence spoke in furtherance of the report and advised that a Project Director had now been appointed to take forward the inter authority agreement (IAA) and that the procurement process was still in progress with a preferred provider having been identified and that details would be circulated to members once the legal standstill period had been completed.
The next stage in the process would involve procurement and the three local authorities committing to the IAA. The IAA would include cost implications should one of the local authorities choose to withdraw from the project at any stage. Part of the procurement process would be to investigate the most appropriate form of delivery of the service, namely whether to build and operate the facility and retain full control of the operation, or to build the facility and then appoint a contractor to run the facility and the aim would be for a better quality facility which would give best value for money in the longterm rather than the cheapest option. A report would be submitted to the Joint Member Working Group prior to a decision being taken and a subsequent report would to be submitted to full Council in October 2016.
Mr Lawrence further advised that consultation with stakeholders had been undertaken, including a site visit to a similar facility in Lincoln and a visit to Lerwick to see the district heating system in operation in the town. One Community Council member had attended the Lerwick visit, and Community Council responses at the stakeholder meeting had been positive. Responses by statutory consultees to the proposed application had also been favourable although there had also been a number of objections including a leaflet which had been circulated within the local community by an individual resident and responses to all comments contained within the leaflet were appended to the report and the responses would be uploaded to the Council website as well as being circulated to all Councillors. The Sub Committee were advised that the facility in Lerwick had recently featured on a television series covering the Shetland Isles and it was proposed that a DVD be obtained for viewing.
Councillor Allan spoke to the Sub Committee and indicated that the leaflet being circulated had been produced by one person and it had not been issued with the agreement of the Community Council. It did not reflect the overall views of the Community Council. Councillor Allan also advised that residents had not been consulted by the Community Council for their views.
In response to concerns about smells and emissions and complaints from residents concerning the waste water site operated by SEPA, Mr Lawrence advised that unlike the waste water site, the energy from waste plant could be switched off for maintenance and that all emissions from combustion were tightly regulated with regular testing. Funds would also be ring fenced for the maintenance of the plant to ensure long term compliance which would had not been the case for incinerators installed in the UK during the 1970’s and 80’s and which had fed the public perception that incinerators polluted the local atmosphere.
The liaison group which had visited the Lincoln facility had spoken to local residents and had received responses that had been very positive with no complaints about smells and emissions over the two years the plant had been in operation. The proposed facility at Altens East would also benefit residents in terms of the heat and/ or energy transfer facility to residents and businesses which the Lincoln facility does not provide. The visit to Lincoln had provided an excellent opportunity to better understand the design and operation of such plants and had resulted in alleviating concerns about the proposed facility at Altens.
With respect to the local heat network, Mr Lawrence advised that the system being supplied by the Altens East facility would differ from the current city centre network as it is intended that it could connect into individual homes as well as communal blocks in the future and may be able to provide power to properties at times when there was no heating requirement. In the long term, the system could connect in to the wider network with additional plant such as biomass boilers being used at times of high demand if required. The initial connections would incorporate the school, swimming pool and council owned properties and the long term aspiration was to roll out the network from Torry to join with other heat systems such as that supplying Foresterhill, although no specific plans are in place for this.
The Sub Committee resolved:
(i) to request that details of the preferred provider be circulated once the legal standstill period had passed;
(ii) to request that a DVD of the Lerwick plant be made available for viewing;
(iii) to request that responses to the leaflet distributed to the residents be published on the Council’s website and that it be circulated to all councillors;
(iv) to thank Councillor Allan for attending the Sub Committee; and
(v) to otherwise note the updates contained within the report.