Anger over Highland Council’s plans to build a biomass boiler

Anger over Highland Council's plans to build a biomass boiler

An Inverness woman has told of her anger over Highland Council plans to build a biomass boiler just a few feet away from her home.

Gina MacKenzie, 57, has a long-term health condition and recently went through an operation to remove a tumour – and says one of her few pleasures these days is sitting in her garden.

But the local authority is in the process of installing a boiler in the grounds of Inverness High School, just feet away from her property.

Mrs MacKenzie described the impact the boiler will have on her day to day life.

She added: “I have a neurological disorder and I recently had a tumour removed from my spinal cord and because of the way I am at the moment the future for me is sitting in my back garden; but I won’t be able to with that thing there.

“It’s the only pleasure I will have in future. I love my garden and we even put a patio in so I could sit outside. How can I sit and look at that?”

After being a neighbour of the school for over 20 years, she is urging officials to consider moving the boiler to another part of the grounds.

She said: “A small boiler was put behind neighbours round the corner and the neighbours up there have had constant complaints and issues. It has caused havoc. I can’t imagine what this will cause.

“There is plenty of room round the school, they could put it somewhere else. I want to stop it before it gets started and I want them to reconsider and put it at the other side of the school.”

Biomass boilers are commonly bigger than normal boilers and replace oil and gas boilers, by burning logs, wood chips and other forms of biomass to heat hot water and raditors. By using wood in place of fossil fuels, these aim to prevent long-term climate change.

A spokeswoman from Highland Council stressed that any site for a biomass boiler is carefully analysed.

She said: “We can confirm that there are plans to install a biomass system at the school.

“The Council undertakes a full assessment of the impact of the plant at any site that is proposed including an examination of the fumes emitted from the chimney and a full dispersion analysis is carried out to ensure the safe distribution of the products of the combustion. The dispersion analysis forms part of the planning process and the Environmental aspects are examined to ensure that the chimney is suitably sized and the plant is of good quality and safety.

“The application will be fully assessed by Environmental Health officers – air quality is regulated and requires to meet relevant standards and regulations in order to ensure that any proposed development does not have an unacceptable impact on local air quality.”