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Waste Processor Anger
A campaign group, angry at the Scottish Government’s decision to approve a waste processing plant in Whitehill, are hoping to appeal the decision through the Court of Session.
The Hamilton Energy Recovery Action Group (HERAG) have also asked for a meeting with the Scottish Secretary for Social Justice and Communities, Alex Neil.
Around 100 people, including several residents of Whitehill, went along to HERAG’s meeting last week where they agreed their plan of action.
The plant, which will process waste using pyrolysis (decomposition brought about by high temperatures), was turned down by South Lanarkshire Council.
However, it was approved by a reporter appointed by the Scottish Government on August 14, after the applicants Clean Power appealed.
Phil Sykes, chair of HERAG, hopes the council will help them with the cost of having the Scottish Government’s decision overturned.
He said: “It was an opportunity for people to talk about how frustrated they were with the decision that had been made. Two big things came out of it. We are asking South Lanarkshire Council to fund the judicial review through the Court of Session.
“We are also asking for a meeting with Alex Neil, as the minister responsible, to discuss why it never came before him.”
He says residents were worried about travelling people living very close to the site and had concerns over the exact pyrolysis process being untested in the UK.
He feels due to these concerns, and the strength of local opposition, Mr Neil should have been involved.
Hamilton councillor Monica Lennon has also written to Mr Neil asking for a meeting and whether he had any knowledge of the waste plant plan.
Councillor Lennon said : “Local residents need quick and straight answers. Alex Neil sits in Nicola Sturgeons’ cabinet.
“I’ve written to the council in its role as planning authority to ask what legal advice is available to it.
“The council and residents groups can’t simply take Scottish Ministers to the Court of Session because they don’t like the decision so I am very interested to know if any legal errors can be identified.”
Mr Neil was asked for a response.
A Scottish Government spokesperson responded saying: “In keeping with the vast majority of appeals dealt with by the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division of the Scottish Government, a reporter was appointed by Scottish Ministers to decide an appeal for a waste processing and resource recovery facility at Whistleberry Road, Hamilton.
“The reporter issued his decision on August 14, 2015, granting permission for this development.
“We will consider any correspondence from Councillor Lennon and respond in due course.”
Michael McGlynn, head of planning and building standards at South Lanarkshire Council, confirmed HERAG had contacted them regarding a judicial review.
He said: “An enquiry from Hamilton Energy Recovery Action Group regarding the possibility of a judicial review being sought was received by the council.
“We will consider the questions asked in their email and will respond in due course.”