THE proposed incinerator at the former Westfield open cast site could be set to burn more rubbish than the whole of Scotland burned last year.

That’s the warning from Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Mark Ruskell, who said the plans for an energy recovery facility near Kinglassie should be refused by Fife Council.

Mr Ruskell highlighted figures from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) which said 175,296 tonnes of waste were incinerated in Scotland last year – the proposed facility at Westfield would have capacity to burn up to 250,000 tonnes each year.

He said: “I have been concerned about the scale of this development from the outset, but the latest figures from Sepa really put Westfield into context.

“Local people understand that there is a need to deal with residual waste from Fife, but to suggest we build an incinerator big enough to burn all the extra waste from across Scotland – and more on top – is outrageous.

“Bear in mind that the developers also have another incinerator soon to be built in Grangemouth, and there are further plants being constructed in Dunbar and Aberdeen.

“We’re going to need to burn a lot more of our waste in Scotland to keep all of these plants running, which goes against all our agreed plans to reduce our waste and cut down on harmful climate change emissions from rubbish.”

Mr Ruskell has objected to the proposals, citing a lack of community engagement, inadequate road safety and no clear phasing plan for the rest of the site.

He said residents who live near the B9097 are “deeply concerned” about the impacts of the predicted HGV numbers on noise, pollution and safety along this road, and that the proposed energy from waste facility at Westfield “will require a significant increase in incineration of waste in Scotland to meet this capacity”.

Mr Ruskell added: “I have heard from numerous local residents and community councils who struggled to get adequate information on the plans ahead of this application being submitted.”

He said residents were keen to participate in a liaison committee but the developer had shown a “lack of enthusiasm” and no community committee had been established.

Fife Council gave planning permission in principle for the Westfield Restoration and Regeneration Project in August, subject to 30 planning conditions and a section 75 legal agreement.

Hargreaves own the overall site but other parties are making separate applications for different parts of the site with Westfield Energy Recovery Ltd, a subsidiary of Brockwell Energy, the applicant for the energy recovery facility.

Waste that cannot be recycled would be burned on the site, potentially 24 hours a day, with the electricity generated by the plant to be exported to the national grid. Another by-product would be steam which could be used to provide heat for neighbouring businesses.

The planning statement says that the ERF “would not give rise to any significant environmental effects that have not previously been identified”.

There are more than 30 objections to the plan, including one from Cardenden Community Council who said that people living near the site would be “subjected to unnecessary environmental impact with rubbish being transported and burnt from other parts of Central Scotland”.

They added: “We also wish to express concerns regards the environmental impact on Loch Leven and surrounding areas which will be subject to air and noise pollution, spillage and waste on the roads and damage to the roads infrastructure by the huge volumes of traffic which will be expected to transfer the waste to the proposed site.”

Mr Ruskell said: “Fife Council made the planning permission in principle last year based on figures provided by the developer themselves, which is not a balanced judgement.

“They need to go away and make a serious plan for how we ensure the absolute minimum rubbish is being burned in Fife – and make sure the Westfield development is resized accordingly.”

The planning application is still to be determined.

The council’s Pam Ewen, senior manager in planning, said: “This current application follows the approval in principle for restoration and development of former opencast site for a range of uses.

“Any representations which have been made will be considered by elected members in due course, as part of the usual planning process.”