Efforts under way to find alternative to Corpach waste site

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A senior Lochaber councillor believes there are better and more appropriate sites for a new, badly needed waste handling and transfer station to handle all of the area’s blue, green and brown bins instead of the controversial proposed site in Corpach.

Last week we reported the huge turnout of more than 150 residents from Corpach and Banavie who packed Kilmallie Community Centre to give their views on the possibility of The Highland Council siting a new waste station on land in the village, currently owned by Ferguson Transport and Shipping.

Two senior council officials explained that with just two years to go until a nationwide ban comes into force prohibiting all Scottish local authorities from landfilling domestic waste, leasing the Corpach site was the only viable option.

However, this viewpoint brought howls of protest, with many residents standing up to condemn the proposals, citing the levels of disruption already suffered by local people from industrial and commercial operations already based there.

Fears over increased heavy vehicle traffic, additional noise, pollution, bad odours, flies, seagulls and vermin were all mentioned.

The three Caol and Mallig elected members on The Highland Council – Allan Henderson, Ben Thompson and Denis Rixson – were also present at the meeting.

It was Highland Council which had initially approached Ferguson Transport and Shipping to sound the company out about leasing the area of land for the waste transfer station.

However, it was stressed to residents that no decision has yet been made and a planning application has not been lodged

But the scale of the opposition from residents saw Alasdair Ferguson, group managing director of Ferguson Transport and Shipping which is headquartered in Corpach, issue a statement the day after the community council meeting, saying the firm could not ignore the level of opposition expressed and said the local authority would be told it needed to find an alternative site for the project.

Asked for his reaction to Mr Ferguson’s statement, Councillor Henderson, also chairman of The Highland Council environment, development and infrastructure committee, told the Lochaber Times he had now met with council officials in an effort to establish another suitable site.

‘It was clear from the reaction of Corpach residents, while fully recognising that the municipal waste was also their problem, that they would not countenance a waste handling and transfer station in the village without a fight,’ he said.

‘Highland Council will always try to get the best possible compromise that will not upset the residents. I do believe that there are better, more suitable sites in the area and the Ferguson multi hub will develop in more acceptable ways to the residential community of Corpach.’