Objection, Objection, Objection

Greener Leith has finally just sent a 14,000 word objection to the proposed power plant on Leith docks. Supported by more than 64 external references, our objection is based on 9 main points:

1. Security of supply

A large thermal electricity generating plant is not justified on this site, and not required to guarantee security of electricity supply. We question whether sufficient supplies of quality sustainable fuel are available globally, without diverting biomass resources from other, lower carbon, uses.

2. Use of heat

Despite the rhetoric of the developer, the proposals contain no guarantee that any of the heat from the plant will be used. The developer has supplied a CHP feasibility study which is inadequate. It fails to address the practical, political and economic barriers that relate to the development of a large district heating network. This is fundamental to a project of this scale and without it very few of the claimed key economic and environmental benefits will be delivered.

3. Carbon savings claims

The Environmental Assessment supplied by the developer makes no assessment of how the plant  will operate if none, or very little, of the heat is used. Instead, it is based on an extremely optimistic vision of how the plant might operate, which assumes that considerable quantities of heat will be used. The carbon savings claims are also based on assumptions that serve to grossly over exaggerate the carbon savings the plant will practically deliver.

4. Local environmental impact

The plant is sited in area where public health is already blighted by air pollution and high traffic levels. The environmental statements provided by the developer fail to provide sufficient information on the full geographic extent and range of possible toxins that the plant may emit. Air quality studies are based on inadequate baseline information, do not assess cumulative impacts sufficiently, and do not appraise the impact of the full range of fuels that may be used in the plant. No attempt is made to show how the plant will help Scotland to meet future air quality targets on PM2.5

5. National energy policy

The proposed plant is a large, centralised, thermal electricity generation plant. The proposal does not support the energy generation priorities set out by Scottish Government, or policies that relate to the development of CHP plants, energy efficiency and renewable heat.

6. Planning policies

The proposal is not supported by any national, structure or local planning polices.

7. Visual impact

The proposal will have an very significant visual impact, both locally and throughout the Edinburgh area. It does not comply with tall building policies for the area, nor ‘protected view corridors’ set out to maintain the integrity of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, and praised by UNESCO. The developer has sought to actively mislead the public and public officials by providing poor quality materials and visualisations to support the application.

8.Socio-economic impact

The proposed power station will be viewed by many as an imposing ‘bad neighbour’ development, and local business organisations are concerned that any jobs created by the development would be offset by jobs lost in local retail, leisure and tourism businesses.

The power station would not be built without massive public subsidy. Yet, it is not clear how this proposal is consistent with current plans for mixed use regeneration of the the docks. Whilst the profits from the proposed plant will go to Forth Energy shareholders, much of the ongoing financial risk of promoting mixed use regeneration on the docks remains with local tax payers through the Edinburgh tram project and the Waterfront Tax Incremental Finance arrangements.

9. Lack of public support

There is clearly no public support for this proposal. At least six local community councils, many of the local residents associations and politicians of at all levels and from a range of parties have expressed opposition the plant.

You can read our objection in full here:

Forth Energy Leith Biomass Objection

  • John Duncan

    I am objecting the proposal to build a Biomass plant in Leith on the following grounds that you may not have heard of before.

    There are massive holes in the argument for a Biomass plant in Leith and indeed in particular one that uses trees as a source of fuel.

    My concerns are that during those sunny summer days accompanied with high pressure in the future they will be accompanied by an onshore breeze blowing biomass exhaust particulates in the direction of central Edinburgh. And what of the extra potency of a sea har which will capture and drop the particulate waste on Edinburgh and its citizens. SMOG: smokey fog! Also when snow is lying on the ground for weeks toxic accumulations build up that are released all at the same time when the snow melts.

    In the age of growing Global warming, apparently, who on earth thinks it is a great idea to burn trees? There is a significant alternative that could make Leith an enviable place for using hemp. No I am not advocating mass marijuana use by leithers; the hemp type I am referring to is the only biomass fuel source to be considered in my opinion. At least 4 times the biomass potential of trees and they are grown and harvested in a year capturing CO2 which will be released when used as a fuel. No acid rain and a reduction in pollution by up to 80%
    If I may I would like to add another concerning point with regards to trees being used as fuel for the biomass plant and I am not just being alarmist but mooting a very valid point. Trees have recently been discovered as being very efficient at absorbing contaminants from the soil such as arsenic, heavy metals, trace elements and radioactive compounds so much so they are actually being utilised to clean up contaminated sites. Now here is the crunch and I quote:

    "Trees grown on lands contaminated with toxic chemicals like arsenic could be burned in coal-fired power plants as "biomass" and would be considered "green, renewable energy," despite the fact that arsenic (or other toxic chemicals in question) would be redistributed to the environment through air emissions and ash disposal."