Plans for waste transfer site in Portobello thrown out

Image caption,
The inquiry said the plans were not in the public interest

A campaigning group in the east of Edinburgh is celebrating after controversial plans for a waste transfer depot were rejected.

Waste management company Viridor wanted to build the £7m site in Portobello.

But a public inquiry has ruled the depot would affect a conservation area, and building it was not in the public interest.

Local residents had argued it would cause excess noise and disturbance.

Viridor wanted to build a site where industrial and commercial rubbish would be compacted and then transferred onto rail for burial in Dunbar in East Lothian.

But the plans will now not go ahead.

'Outdated proposal'

Diana Cairns, who chaired the campaign group Portobello Opposes New Garbage Site, or PONGS, said it was a huge relief.

She added: "There was never a need for this facility, which was predicated on large volumes of commercial and industrial waste.

"With the government's Zero Waste strategy aiming to reduce the amount of residual waste produced, this seemed like an outdated proposal."

The company's original plans for an area off the Sir Harry Lauder Road were rejected by Edinburgh City Council in 2008.

But Viridor appealed and the proposals went to a public inquiry to be considered by two reporters appointed by the Scottish government.

In their ruling they wrote: "We find it difficult to conclude that there is an explicit need in the public interest for a stand-alone transfer station in this location and of this scale proposed."

They added that it would spoil the appearance of the Portobello conservation area, saying it would "be damaging to the character and appearance of the area and would have a negative effect on the wider townscape."

Viridor had argued that the site would enable more waste to travel by rail rather than road, and that would be good for the city and the environment.

'Stall development'

The company's Scottish Regional Director, Colin Paterson said the company was disappointed by the decision.

He added: "Whilst officials recognised the urgent need for new waste infrastructure and dismissed many points made by the objectors, it is frustrating that the visual impact of an industrial-type building in an industrial location has ultimately led to the refusal.

"Viridor has committed to the challenge by announcing investment of up to £800m in Scotland over the next five years. It's hard to believe therefore that the Scottish government has allowed the planning system to stall development again."

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