Approval for Invergordon waste incinerator quashed

Mohamed Al Fayed Mohamed Al Fayed opposed the incinerator

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A decision to approve plans for a controversial £43m waste incinerator in Invergordon has been quashed following a legal challenge.

Combined Power and Heat (Highlands) was given the go-ahead in November 2012 following a public inquiry.

Highland Council and former Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed's Ross Estates challenged the decision.

Judges have now ruled that the inquiry must be re-opened, but only deal with the issue of what waste is handled.

Mr Al Fayed has spoken out in the past against the incinerator.

Lawyers for both the local authority and the businessman's Ross Estates had argued that the entire case should be heard again by a public inquiry.

But the Lord President, Lord Gill, who heard the appeal at the Court of Session in Edinburgh with Lord Menzies and Lord Clarke, took the view that was "unnecessary".

The judges ruled that a condition allowing the plant to accept a maximum of 100,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste from within the Highland Council area, but also some from outside the region, should be examined by a public inquiry.

The condition was one of 16 attached to planning consent granted by a Scottish government planning reporter two years ago.

Combined Power and Heat (Highlands) has offered to place a restriction on the waste, but judges said opponents to the scheme should be given a fair chance to make submissions.

Highland Council has welcomed the ruling.

Councillor Maxine Smith said: "I am delighted that we have the opportunity to go back to inquiry to argue that planning permission should be refused.

"This incinerator is not wanted in Invergordon by the majority of people living here."

Councillor Martin Rattray added: "I think this is a positive outcome and I am sure the community will welcome this as they have worked so hard and fought with such enthusiasm."

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