Consortium in the lead to run city’s new incinerator

OPINION DIVIDED: An artist’s impression of the incinerator which is planned for Tullos in Aberdeen
OPINION DIVIDED: An artist’s impression of the incinerator which is planned for Tullos in Aberdeen

An international consortium is in the lead to run a controversial, multi-million-pound waste incinerator in Aberdeen.

The £150 million plant, which resembles a spaceship, will take 150,000 tonnes of waste in every year from across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray from 2022.

But environmentalists and local groups have long opposed the facility raising concerns about the possibility of pollution from the burning of non-recyclable materials.

It’s feared small particles will be left floating in the vicinity of the plant which is planned for a site close to Tullos Primary School.

Yesterday it was revealed at the full meeting of the city council that a consortium, led by Spanish construction giant Acciona, was the “preferred bidder” to run the site – which will also generate heat and power for nearby homes.

The project was also approved at a local authority meeting in Moray.

Aberdeenshire council is still to officially sign off on the plan, which would involve Moray funding about 14% of the cost, Aberdeen 38% and Aberdeenshire 48%.

A report to councillors in Aberdeen stated: “The preferred bidder is a consortium of international companies led by Acciona, a Spanish-based, global construction company.

“Acciona and Acciona Industrial will… deliver the construction of the facility. Acciona will then subcontract the operation and maintenance to Indaver, an experienced waste company, for the 20-year services period.

“It is anticipated the facility will be accepting waste for commissioning by August 2021 and fully operational by April 2022.

“Due to the poorer air quality experienced on Wellington Road, the basic plant design already incorporated an improved emissions treatment system that would meet a lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) level to that required by the current legislation.”

Shocking data revealed in November that illegal levels of toxic and potentially deadly nitrogen dioxide pollution was recorded in 13 Aberdeen locations.

The city has long since failed to meet European Air Quality Directive deadlines for reducing emission levels, which were due to have been met in 2010.

Plans for the incinerator will be discussed at an Aberdeenshire Council meeting this week.

Moray Conservative group leader Tim Eagle said: “With the Scottish Government landfill ban due to commence in 2021, it is great to see Moray Council alongside Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council making great progress in the planning and building of the energy from waste facility at East Tullos.”

However, Guy Ingerson, co-convener of the Aberdeen Greens, claimed that concerns raised by the public had been “consistently ignored”.

He said: “This is an environmental and financial disaster waiting to happen. The incinerator will need plastic and other materials for decades, materials that should be recycled instead.

“The concerns of working class communities near the site have been consistently ignored.

“Councils can ill afford to burn £150m on this white elephant at a time of public service cuts.”

Acciona, which runs similar facilities in Europe, was contacted for comment.