A Deeside community fears plans to store thousands of tonnes of incinerator ash in the countryside could be a “Trojan horse” ploy to create an industrial site.
Agricultural land near Park Quarry at Drumoak has been earmarked as the possible home to a processing facility for the Ness Energy Plant at East Tullos in Aberdeen, more than 10 miles away.
Waste-to-energy specialists Rock Solid Processing Ltd want to transform the site into a space capable of storing 40,000 tonnes of material.
Consultation documents state there would be seven lorry loads of ash being delivered there every day.
But the Park Bridge Action Group, a newly formed force created to stand up for the Aberdeenshire area, has warned it will “vigorously object” to any official plans lodged with the council.
In addition to their fears over the potential for further development at the site, members say the “wholly inadequate” proposals would prove harmful to the marine life of the River Dee.
Hugh Fraser, director and legal advisor to the group, said: “We believe the current proposal is a Trojan horse and the end result will be an integrated industrial facility at Park Quarry comprising cement manufacturing and incinerator ash storage processing at the current Park Quarry location for at least the next 20 years.”
William Foster, the organisation’s director responsible for fishing interests, added: “Our position is that the proposals are wholly inappropriate for the countryside and are disrespectful to our community and our environment.
“Incinerator bottom ash contains toxic materials, which will harm aquatic species including salmon, trout and pearl mussels.”
The group said the quarry, operated by Chap, must close by 2022 under current planning conditions set by Aberdeenshire Council.
Chap managing director, Hugh Craigie, and Rock Solid UK general manager Mark Wederell issued a joint response pledging to address any concerns during a public consultation event on Thursday.
They said: “Both Rock Solid and Chap Group fully welcome active engagement with the community, and look forward to discussing the early plans with all interested parties at the virtual public consultation event.
“The situation created by Covid-19 has required us to change the way we carry out public consultation, and so we have arranged our online event to fully comply with guidance issued by the Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Council.
“We are confident that this will afford anyone with an interest in the proposed project the opportunity to hear more about the plans and to share their views.
“This will help shape any plans before we look to submit a formal planning application. We would encourage anyone with an interest to view the further information provided online at https://www.rocksolidbv.com/news”
The action group has been formed at a time when a “perfect storm” of challenges are facing people in the Crathes, Drumoak, Durris and Maryculter areas.
Among them are delays to reopening Park Bridge, which locals are now planning to take legal action over.
The East Tullos incinerator will ultimately generate green energy from unrecyclable rubbish collected in the city, Aberdeenshire and Moray by 2022.