Locals are voicing their concerns about plans to instate an energy recovery park at the Killoch site.

Last week, it was confirmed that Barr Environmental had submitted a planning application to East Ayrshire Council for a “state-of-the-art” energy recovery park at the site.

The application was submitted following a public consultation which was held between December 2020 and February 2021 with feedback used to help finalise the plans.

Barr says the proposed new facility will safely, cleanly and sustainably manage up to 166,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from across the region each year and generate enough electricity to meet the needs of around 40,000 homes.

They say plans would also enable them to create 17 new jobs and safeguard a further 60 which are already part of its existing operations.

However many locals have noted their dissatisfaction with how the public consultation was carried out and ultimately remain opposed to plans for the recovery park, with a protest held on Saturday further highlighting their dismay.

Cumnock Chronicle:

Michael Howes, the spokesperson for the group opposing the plans, said: “There is a feeling by many that it [the consultation] was too tightly controlled.

“People were not able to express themselves, speak to others or cross question. It was very much managed.

“It was also discriminatory in that folk who didn’t have access to technology couldn’t take part and part of the problem was that the consultants were supposed to have put out leaflets within 5km of the plant and our investigation showed they didn’t do that.

“The basic problems of moving the waste from four other local authorities is... it goes against the principles of dealing with waste locally rather than shipping it. East Ayrshire Council policy states in favour of dealing with waste on a local basis but they have gone against their own policy.”

Cumnock Chronicle:

He continued: “There is big concern about traffic congestion. They haven’t answered the question about how that’s going to work with 108 extra vehicles a day on the roads and the problems there will be in communities like Mauchline and Ochiltree with pollution from vehicles and vibration damage to buildings.

“Then there’s the whole issue of how this fits into the local green agenda. When we’re told that Cumnock is going to be a centre for green excellence in regards to natural energy research development at Knockroon, it seems contradictory that... just up the road they’re going to build a polluting incinerator which is widely thought of as being old technology.”

Council planning officers will now conduct their own consultation.

Cumnock Chronicle:

MSP Elena Whitham said: “I welcome the commitment to undertake a full review on incinerators and I have contacted the Environment Minister to see how we can progress that. It is also vital that we move away from landfill and focus our efforts on eliminating waste altogether through recycling, reusing and remanufacturing.”

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