Tens of thousands of tonnes of ash from Aberdeen’s future incinerator will be stored and processed at a former quarry near Portlethen.
The under-construction £150 million Ness Energy From Waste plant near Tullos will burn non-recyclable rubbish from Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray councils in order to produce heat and electricity once it is up and running.
The project is designed to help the three local authorities lower their impact on the environment and send less to landfill, and will burn up to 150,000 tonnes of unrecyclable material every year.
However, once the energy from waste process is complete, there still remains a material made of a mix of ash and metals to get rid of.
This material is called incinerator bottom ash (IBA).
What will happen to the remaining ash?
Once it has been processed, IBA can be used for all sorts of useful purposes.
It can be utilised as a replacement for sand in cement production, and for use in construction as an aggregate.
This month Aberdeenshire Council approved plans to allow Rock Solid Processing to build an IBA storage and processing facility at the former Cairnrobin quarry, just north of Portlethen.
The 2.6 hectare site will be able to store 38,000 tonnes of IBA at once, and lies about 3.2 miles south of the Ness plant at Tullos.
It is estimated that the Rock Solid site will receive around seven lorry loads a day, each carrying 27 tonnes of IBA material.
Mark Wederell, general manager at Rock Solid Processing, said the company is “very pleased” the IBA site plans were approved.
He said: “We hope to start enabling works on site as soon as possible and be operation next year to start handling the IBA from the Energy from Waste Plant at east Tullos.”
Concerns from objectors over dust
A total of 29 objections were made against the plans.
Those against the project raised concerns about the potential for problems caused by dust being generated at the site, and other worries.
Colin Stewart, whose parents live close to the site where the ash will be stored and processed, said he was “very disappointed that the council has not listened to the residents and businesses in the area that objected to this”.
He added: “No amount of dust mitigation will stop all dust, as this is a very windy area and yet they plan on storing ash.
“We are very concerned at the prospect of hazardous dust being blown around here.
“My parent’s house is the closest property to where the ash will be stored, and they already suffer from dust and stoor from the Cairnrobin site as it is now.”
Portlethen Community Council also objected and raised fears about the volume of dust generated.
Council believes Rock Solid’s dust management plans are “appropriate”
However, a report by Aberdeenshire Council officers said dust mitigation measures proposed by Rock Solid were “deemed appropriate, and can be controlled through planning condition”.
In its conditions for approving the plans, the local authority told Rock Solid it must not operate the site unless its measures outlined in its dust management plan are implemented.
In a consultation document, Rock Solid argued dust is “unlikely to be an issue” as ash would arrive damp on arrival, and form a “solid crust” when stored.
It also said the material would only be stored within a “bunded and lined storage area, with sealed independent drainage”, and only processed during temporary “campaign periods”, which would take place once or twice a year, and last between six and eight weeks.
Outside these periods, Rock Solid said the Portlethen facility will be “simply a storage area for material”.
When will the incinerator be finished?
It is expected construction of the Ness Energy From Waste plant will be completed by the end of next year.