THE people of Newton Mearns made their opposition to a proposed incinerator at Loganswell clear at a meeting last week in which passions ran high.
At Mearns Castle high school, angry residents, councillors and politicians gathered to quiz the team behind the plans.
It may not have been the “lynch mob” that the four members of the Lifetime Recycling Village feared, but locals made their feelings known with a series of well-researched questions.
Chris Williams, LRV’s technical director, started the meeting off by touting his green credentials, saying, “we have a passion for recovering value in rubbish” and later, managing director Brian Kilgour described himself as an “environmentalist”.
Mr Williams fielded most questions. On why this particular site had been chosen, he defended the organisation’s choice as it is “adjacent to three landfill sites and has good transport links”.
The 14 chimneys and the problem of transport were both expressed as major issues of contention.
While others focused on the fear that they will be “guinea pigs” as the team acknowledged that the site will have nine times less capacity than the nearest operational site in Lancing, while a comparable site in Peterbrough is not yet in operation.
Mr Williams also rejected claims that LRV’s incinerator would have similar problems as examples sited in Japan, Germany and USA.
While he tried to play down fears of health risks as there would be “far more risk from a boiler exploding or travelling in car”.
LRVs chief development officer Willy Findlater tried to assure the crowd that waste would come only from the 11 local authority areas in the West of Scotland “from Cumbernauld to Kilmarnock”.
While 31,000 tonnes of municipal waste is disposed of annually in Newton Mearns, the Loganswell site, if approved, would handle more than 1.5 million tonnes per year.
A pair of protest groups, mums against the incinerator and the Loganswell Residents association were both in attendance.
MATI spokeswoman Jessica Eagers- Hardie has three young sons who attend St Cadoc’s and live in nearby Doveside.
She told The Extra: “This is an unhealthy proposal that the people of East Renfrewshire are dead against.
“Because of the prevailing winds, we will be hit by the products of the incinerator and there are absolutely no assurances that this will be safe in the long term”.
Alan Dixon would become a neighbour of the site if it goes ahead.
Employed in recruitment, he cast doubt about LRV’s statement that the 700 jobs would actually go to local people.
He added: “We need a referendum. Nobody supports this, the community in Loganswell would be forced out and junction five of the M77 would become a disaster”.
The meeting was hosted by Newton Mearns’ community council.
After the event, a spokesman for the group said: “It is imperative that we alert every resident and it is essential this becomes the number one election issue for all MSPs seeking your vote”.
With the pre-planning period coming to an end, the Scottish government will be likely to receive an application in either June or July.