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Environment / Farm plastic could be sent to incinerator

The Waste to Energy plant in Lerwick.
The Waste to Energy plant in Lerwick.

MORE waste could be coming to Lerwick’s Energy Recovery Plant when a ban on farmers and crofters burning plastic comes into force in January.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) confirmed earlier this year that it would be ending exemptions for burning most types of agricultural waste in a bid to reduce environmental impact.

The local branch of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has been in touch with Shetland Islands Council (SIC) regarding disposing plastic bale wrap when the ban kicks in.

The plastic is unsuitable for recycling at the moment so arrangements are being made to incinerate it at the Energy Recovery Plant at Gremista, which burns waste to fuel Lerwick’s district heating scheme.

It comes on the backdrop of less plastic being burnt in the incinerator as it is being recycled as part of the SIC’s new kerbside service.

This gap in the amount of plastic being burned is currently being plugged by importing refuse derived fuel.

The solution for the SIC to burn the farm waste, which is permitted by SEPA, is seen as an interim measure.

Charges levied for this service will be presented at a forthcoming meeting of the council’s environment and transport committee.

Local NFU chairman Cecil Eunson said the plastic involved would only amount to a small tonnage.

He added that “in our eyes it would be the most sensible solution”.

Eunson said that the alternative could have been to send it to a processing company on the Scottish mainland, but it was his understanding that some of it would have ended up in landfill.