Objectors to a renewed effort by Scottish Borders Council to set up a regional waste transfer station on the outskirts of Galashiels have been given a big boost in their battle to get that bid dumped.
With the council’s own planning committee due to consider an application for consent next month, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has registered an objection to plans for the £4.8m plant at Easter Langlee after landfill operations end there next year.
“We object to this planning application on the grounds of lack of information,” states the agency.
Specifically, the regulatory body notes there are neither a noise assessment nor any noise abatement measures included in a council proposal also offering no timescale for odour mitigation.
The agency claims there is a discrepancy in the arrangements for foul drainage and that a surface-water drainage plan for the site is illegible in the documentation.
This is the second time this year that the council has sought consent for a waste transfer site at Easter Langlee.
If eventually approved, such a facility would handle more than 40,000 tonnes of household waste a year, transporting it outwith the region to be dealt with elsewhere.
In April, its planning committee voted 5-2 to reject the proposal.
Notwithstanding the environmental impact, councillors cited the inadequacy of the C77 access road, also serving the housing developments at Melrose Gait and Coopersknowe, to copewith projected lorry movements.
Despite suggestions from the committee that an alternative location for the site, closer to the trunk road network, should be explored, the council commissioned a new traffic impact report from a firm of consultants to support another bid for the same site.
That report, recommending localised widening of the C77 and improved signage, concludes: “There are no transport-related issues preventing the award of planning consent.”
That is emphatically not the view of the 12 householders who have already lodged objections to the new plans.
Jeanette Scoular and Norman Young, neighbours living either side of a pinch point on the C77 where it is impossible for two lorries to pass each other, have both submitted objections.
“The C77 is not capable of improvement to an acceptable standard, and cosmetic improvements to the wider part of the road will only serve to encourage more speeding approaching the pinch point,” states Ms Scoular.
Mr Young writes: “Because we live here and experience speeding and close shaves every day, we can say without contradiction that any proposed signage will mean nothing to 99% of those drivers who use the road now, as they know it well enough to ignore any warning signs.
“The cosmetic work proposed with this planning application will only make the road faster in both directions.”
If the planning bid is successful, construction of the waste transfer station would be scheduled to begin in November, with completion due for August next year.