The Highland Council’s planning applications committee has granted planning permission for a new centralised waste management facility on part of the former Longman landfill site
The waste management facility is intended to support the council in meeting forthcoming changes to national waste regulations. From 1 January 2021 it will no longer be permissible for refuse collected by the council to be sent to landfill.
The approved waste management facility will comprise of a large rectangular building of approximately 100 metres by 34 metres; office and welfare facilities; a weighbridge, access road, car parking, landscaping and would see the former landfill site repurposed to reclaim valuable resources from present day Highland waste.
The Highland Council currently collects and disposes of around 144,000 tonnes of waste produced by households and commercial waste customers each year. At present, 43% of this material is recycled. The remaining refuse, which accounts for 57% of Highland waste is sent to landfill at a cost of approximately £11m annually.
The Materials Recovery Facility will receive and process Highland refuse to recover recyclable materials. It will also reclaim value from the remaining refuse by preparing it for use as Refuse Derived Fuel. The Refuse Derived Fuel would be exported for use elsewhere in Scotland, the UK or Europe in thermal treatment facilities, which use the fuel to produce electricity and heat. The development is also intended to contribute to the efficient transportation of Highland waste.
Councillor Allan Henderson chair of the council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee, said: “The change to national waste regulations from January 1 2021 will promote consideration of the waste we produce as a valuable resource and is intended to contribute to the development of a more circular economy.
“The Longman facility will play a pivotal role in Highland Council’s plans to divert refuse from landfill as well as aiding efficient transportation of our waste and reducing the climate and wider environmental impacts associated with this.”
Highland Council has consulted with SNH, SEPA, Scottish Water and other regulators to establish that the waste management facility will not have an adverse impact on the qualifying features of the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA) – no objections were received.