Viridor starts construction of £177m waste-burning power plant

Construction work has started on a £177m plant in East Lothian which will burn rubbish to create energy.

Recycling firm Viridor said its energy recovery facility (ERF) near Dunbar will incinerate more than 300,000 tonnes of waste a year, avoiding the need for landfill.

The energy produced will be able to power almost 40,000 homes all year round.

The facility is due for completion in 2017.

According to Viridor, at least 350 jobs will be supported during construction.

A further 55 full-time jobs will be created once the plant is operating.

Viridor chief executive Ian McAulay said: “Viridor is at the forefront of helping Scotland achieve its internationally ambitious target to be a zero waste nation.

“Part of a £357m Scottish recycling and energy investment programme committed within the last 18 months, this project will be transforming waste that would otherwise have been consigned to landfill into vital renewable energy for 39,000 Scottish homes.”

The project has attracted criticism from some environmentalists, who have claimed that emissions from the facility could be toxic.

Reacting to the start of construction work, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “We have seen a significant, sustained decrease in the amount of waste being sent to landfill – falling from 7.4 million tonnes in 2007 to 4.5 million tonnes in 2012.

“While Scotland is focused on moving towards a more circular economy, where goods are kept in high value use for as long as possible, there will still be a role for energy recovery for the limited amount of waste that cannot be prevented, reused or recycled.”

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