WORK on the construction of a giant indoor waste recycling plant just outside Galashiels will begin in September.
The complex, close to Easter Langlee landfill site operated by Scottish Borders Council (SBC), is likely to become operational in October next year.
The dates come after the signing on Monday of a 24-year contract between the council and Dorset-based New Earth Solutions which will build and operate the facility.
The main complex of buildings will be 174 metres by 72 metres. It will be 10 metres high with a 12-metre chimney stack at one end.
As reported last week, the local authority and the company were successful in a joint bid for planning permission to deal with two outstanding issues from a proposal first mooted in 2002 to cut the amount of municipal waste going to landfill.
The original outline consent was renewed in 2007, but the need to progress the development became evident in December last year and New Earth Solutions was named as the preferred bidder for the multi-million pound project.
The contract involves the development of a residual waste treatment facility, as well as the processing of mixed dry recyclables and composting of green waste. The service will cover about 65,000 tonnes of waste a year, of which around 45,000 tonnes will be dealt with using mechanical biological treatment (MBT) technology.
This will divert municipal waste from landfill in line with Scotland’s zero waste policy and help the council meet its recycling targets through the recovery of materials such as metals and plastics.
The company will also deal with the council’s mixed dry recyclables and green waste through sub-contract arrangements.
Councillor Len Wyse, SBC’s executive member for environmental services, said: “We are pleased to sign the contract following a two-year procurement process for this new treatment plant. The contract will help the council meet the legislative recycling and diversion targets of the Scottish Government and the European Union.”
The previous planning consents were conditional on SBC’s planning committee agreeing suitable access to, and layout of, the site and being satisfied with arrangements for the disposal of surface water and foul draining.
The committee voted unanimously to give the scheme the go-ahead, noting that access would be taken from the existing single-track road used by landfill traffic once off the C77 Galashiels to Langshaw road.
Consent was granted despite six objections, including one from the Coopersknowe Residents’ Association, representing those living in the nearby luxury housing development. The association claimed the narrow C77 would not be able to safely handle increased traffic using the facility. Its call for the operating hours to be limited was dismissed by the committee.
There was also a late but abortive submission from Persimmon Homes which intends building 300 houses between the site and the main Galashiels to Melrose road. The company was concerned about noise and dust affecting its housing development.