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Viridor's appeal over road to rail transfer station thrown out

Viridor’s Scottish regional director has accused the Government’s planning system of “stalling development again” after its appeal against the refused planning permission to build a road to rail transfer station in Portobello, Edinburgh was thrown out.

The Scottish Government’s directorate for planning and environmental appeals concluded that, the impact on the conservation area that is situated opposite the proposed site, the impact on the listed buildings in the area and the visual impact, were too detrimental to the area. The report also stated that the need to have “special regard to the desirability of preserving the setting of listed buildings required … to be so significant that a refusal of planning permission is justified”.

However, there was no objection made to the noise, odour and traffic impact on the area.

Viridor had proposed to build a road to rail transfer station which would handle commercial and industrial waste. A daily train would be able to transfer 150,000 tonnes of waste from the Portobello site to Viridor’s landfill site at Oxwellmains each year, although 300,000 tonnes could be transferred at the site each year. Viridor expected that the use of rail over road, which it uses at the moment, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40%.

The company’s Scottish regional director Colin Paterson said: “Viridor is clearly disappointed with the decision by Scottish Ministers to refuse the road-to-rail waste transfer station.  While 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.

“It’s a bitter blow on the very day the Scottish Government launched its Zero Waste strategy which extends national targets to include business waste and is clear both on the need for ‘next generation’ facilities, and for private sector investment to turn the policy into practice. It’s hard to believe therefore that the Scottish Government has allowed the planning system to stall development again.  We simply can’t go on like this.”

Viridor recently committed to investing £800m in Scotland over the next five years.

The report outlining the details of the planning issues stated that the scale and height of the building was a key concern and that “we consider that the building would dominate this skyline and introduce a large and unattractive structure, which would appear out of character  and scale with the area”. However, previous objections to the structure such as noise and air quality were overturned. 

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