a DECISON on whether to push forward plans for an energy from waste plant in Carrick now looks set to be made early in the New Year.
The Carrick Gazette has learned that representatives from the Forestry Commission and the developers' consortium, led by Ashby-Scott Projects, behind the proposal have recently met and are currently taking time to consider and review plans before making a final decision.
There had been some suggestions made locally in South Ayrshire that a decision had already been made not to build the plant outside Barrhill, and there had been a planning application launched by the consortium for the construction of a similar facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh. However the developers stressed to the Carrick Gazette this week that this was not the case and no decision has been made to go for planning.
John Dent, of Ashby-Scott Projects Limited, said that meetings had taken place and that he greatly appreciates the patience from Barrhill locals.
He said: "We recently met with representatives from the Forestry Commission and, I stress, no decision has been made on the energy from waste plant.
"We both feel it is right to take our time over this decision and not to rush it as it is very important to the south Carrick and surrounding areas.
"I have a great deal of respect for the people of Barrhill and the surrounding area and most people have been respectful of our intentions. For that I am extremely grateful."
Mr Dent could not give a specific timescale for when a decision will be made on whether proposals would be pushed forward.
He added: "We will wait for the Forestry Commission before making this important decision on taking the next step."
The energy from waste plant has drawn considerable protest from local people worried about the health risks associated with such a facility.
Public meetings held in Barrhill found that there were a number of people who did not want to see such a plant in the area and cited arguments from Friends of the Earth and the Green Party that waste incineration does not make a useful contribution to the energy crisis or lowering global warming.
A 50-mile exclusion zone where no livestock or crops could be grown had also been mooted as a possible outcome to having an energy from waste plant in the area.
These claims were countered by a local professor who argued that much more research was needed into energy from waste plants in general as the issues surrounding them are incredibly complex.
Professor Ian Arbon had pointed out that most western European countries, which are generally far more environmentally-aware than the UK, make greater use of EfW and people and governments are strongly supportive of EfW, giving them a higher rate of waste reuse and recycling that in the UK.