Residents’ outrage bins Corpach waste plan

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It looks as if local outrage has binned the possibility of Highland Council building a waste transfer station in Corpach, after Ferguson Transport boss Alasdair Ferguson said the local authority will need to find an alternative site instead of an area of land owned by his company.

Highland Council had approached Ferguson Transport to explore the possibility of leasing a small parcel of its industrial-zoned land in the village for the badly needed new waste operation.

With all Scottish local authorities facing a nationwide ban on municipal waste going to landfill after January 1, 2021, the clock is ticking on Highland Council’s efforts to find an alternative to the dump at nearby Duisky on the shores of Loch Eil.

The Corpach site ticks a lot of boxes on Highland Council’s wishlist for a central waste handling facility dealing all of Lochaber’s green, blue and brown bins.

But Monday night’s meeting of Kilmallie Community Council, saw so many angry Corpach and Banavie residents turn up, it had to be shifted to a bigger hall in the venue.

Senior Highland Council officials told the meeting that if the Corpach scheme became a reality it would see the construction of a building about a quarter of the size of a football field, into which refuse lorries would enter to dump their rubbish for sorting and onward shipping to Inverness.

Andy Summers, head of Environmental and Amenity Services at Highland Council, tried to reassure residents that nothing had been decided and no planning application had been submitted.

‘We are interested in the site at Corpach because we believe there is no alternative to that site,’ said Mr Summers, who confessed the council had no ‘Plan B’ if the Corpach site was ruled out and admitted the council should have tackled the issue sooner.

But resident after resident, standing up to grill Mr Summers on the proposal, vented their fury that a village which already suffers from considerable disruption due to various existing industrial and commercial operations, could be faced with even more noise, odour problems and increased lorry traffic.

‘I can’t believe we are actually talking about building a refuse handling plant just 400 yards from a major housing development,’ said resident of 53 years, Roddy Mainland.

‘I have no faith in reassurances there won’t be problems with noise and smell. This site would be totally inappropriate.’

It was actually Mr Ferguson, group managing director of Ferguson Transport and Shipping which is headquartered in Corpach, who requested the issue be added to the community council agenda to gauge local feedback.

The day after the meeting, he told the Lochaber Times the company would not ignore the ‘groundswell of strong local opposition’ from residents.

He added: ‘The domestic waste has to go somewhere in time and the proposed building is designed and built to mitigate the main concerns such as noise, odour and manage any issue of pest control.

‘However, we will now look to seek a meeting at the earliest opportunity with the relevant Highland Council representatives and local councillors to discuss further with a view that they look for an alternative site for their waste transfer operations taking into account the mood of the meeting and evidently the concerns that people locally have now raised.’