How will the EfW facility be monitored?
It will adhere to the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations and will be regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). These regulations are based on those set in the European Industrial Emissions Directive, meaning that performance of Scottish EfW facilities will be just as good as those on the continent. The objective of the regulations is to minimise the impact from emissions on the environment and human health. The regulations set some of the most stringent emissions controls for any thermal process in the European Union. SEPA has powers to shut down any facility that repeatedly fails to comply with regulations and has done so in the past.
Why don’t you call it an incinerator?
The technology has moved on significantly to from an old-style (pre-1990s) incinerator. The sole purpose of an old-style incinerator was to dispose of unwanted materials by burning them. However, a modern energy from waste facility is a power plant using a thermal treatment process to generate electricity and heat energy to benefit local communities.
Why is it being sited in Torry?
The site was chosen after an extensive site search that considered a range of factors, for example, proximity to heat users, access to main transport routes such as the AWPR (Aberdeen bypass), site availability and current use.
It was decided Aberdeen was the best placed local authority with regeneration areas which would most benefit from the low-cost heating provided by the facility. East Tullos Industrial Estate was chosen as it is an existing industrial site with the neighbouring area of Torry, where residents would benefit from the low-cost heating.
Won’t it adversely affect the health of people living nearby?
No. The emissions standards which energy from waste facilities now comply with are much stricter than those which applied to old-style incinerators.
Extensive research, including that by the Health Protection Agency, has found no credible evidence of adverse health implications for people living or working close to EfW facilities.
The emissions will be strictly monitored by SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) with regular inspections.
People have claimed there’s going to be a plume of smoke over Torry and the school?
No, there will not be a ‘plume of smoke’ as has been claimed. It’s water vapour (steam) with gases cleaned to meet strict emissions standards.
The cleaned gases from the energy from waste (EfW) process exit the chimney at more than 130oC. This steam is often white because of the amount of water it contains which condenses in the colder air (like the steam that comes from a domestic kettle).
The steam from the stack is never black or any other colour.
I’ve heard people say there’s going to be smells and a lot of dust created when the plant is operational?
No, that’s not true. Any smells or dust will be contained within the building.
Why is the stack so high?
Weather affects how discharges from any chimney are distributed. The chimney stack on the facility has to be tall enough to ensure the cleaned gases discharged are dispersed properly, taking into account the local geography and any unusual weather conditions such as sea haar.
I’ve heard there won’t be enough waste so there’ll be ships coming into the new harbour importing waste from abroad?
That’s not true. The NESS energy from waste facility is designed to take waste which cannot be recycled from the three councils. If there is any spare capacity, local commercial/trade waste with a similar composition to household waste can be accepted.
Won’t it discourage people to do more recycling?
No – we want everyone to recycle more.
We would love it if we could have 100% recycling, but we don’t have the technical ability to process all wastes into new products and not every potentially recyclable material can be reused. There will always be some waste that cannot be recycled. A modern energy from waste facility provides the best way to divert waste from landfill and get value from it in the form of energy.
Won’t you just end up putting recyclables into the energy from waste facility to ensure it makes enough money?
No, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, all three councils have a legal obligation to continue recycling, and increase their percentage of recycling (and importantly, all want to increase their recycling rates). Secondly, the Environmental permit restricts the input to only waste left after recycling activities.
Won’t you be putting the organic waste (like leftover food, grass cuttings etc) into the plant?
No. Each of the three councils has a specialist private contractor which deals with recycling organic waste. A similar restriction on input relates to organic waste as it does recyclates.
Will Brexit affect any subsidies from Europe for the plant?
The business plan for the NESS EfW does not include any subsidies from the UK or EU parliaments, therefore any removal or changes to subsidies will have no effect on the project.
How much will it cost to get the new district heating system installed in my home?
Council tenants will not pay for anything as ACC is responsible for paying for these works. For council tenants, their heating would be replaced as part of the normal programme of upgrading heating systems, and a plan is being worked on just now for how this will happen.
For private owners, it is estimated to cost approximately the same as adding gas central heating and a boiler system to a property. The cost of installing the network of pipes under streets would be the responsibility of Aberdeen City Council.
How much will the heating cost per month on average?
For an average three bedroom house, we would expect it to be about 10% less than current British Gas prices.