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Highland Council may need to think again after incineration is to be reviewed

By Tom Ramage

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Highlands and Islands Greens have welcomed the news that councils across Scotland with plans to open polluting waste-to-energy plants – including Highland Council – are now under pressure after the Scottish Government announced a review of their future.

Green Minister Lorna Slater warned councils not to go ahead with plans before the review concludes in March next year.

Badenoch and Strathspey's Green councillor Pippa Hadley said: "I am pleased that the announcement of this review has happened at a time that it can be taken into consideration by Highland Council in moving forward with waste plans."

Badenoch Councillor Pippa Hadley: glad about review timing
Badenoch Councillor Pippa Hadley: glad about review timing

In government the Scottish Greens have launched a major review of the future of incinerators, which will examine the role incineration plays in Scotland’s waste hierarchy, including whether there is a need for any new incineration capacity at all.

It comes as councils across Scotland plan to double Scotland’s incineration capacity, which could lead to three quarters of household waste being burned for energy – locking in demand for waste for decades.

Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “Incineration has no future as a solution for tackling the climate crisis, as it produces climate emissions and relies on current unsustainable levels of waste.

"Yet many local authorities have been all too keen to build even more waste-hungry incinerators as a quick fix to the forthcoming landfill ban.

“Labour’s credibility on this issue is up in smoke, because for all their bluster in Holyrood, Labour-run councils have approved new incinerators in North Ayrshire and Fife and looks set to approve one in North Lanarkshire too.

"Of course, Labour worked with the Tories in Aberdeen to rubber stamp a vast new incinerator in the city, and the Tories have plans for Aberdeenshire and Perth and Kinross too. It has been up to Greens, locally, to oppose these plans.

“Now that the future of incineration is in question, councils should halt their incineration plans and look instead at how they can support a circular economy.”

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