Wester Hatton landfill appeal thrown out

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A BLACKDOG landfill site will close on schedule, after an appeal to extend its working life was rejected by the Scottish Government reporter.

Site operator WRG had appealed an earlier decision by Aberdeenshire Council not to allow the Wester Hatton site to remain open until 2029. However government reporter Michael Shiel upheld the local authority’s decision.

Although he was critical of aspects of the council’s policies and procedures relating to landfill disposal in the region, Mr Sheil upheld the planning department’s overall recommendation that the site close, citing local concern as one justification.

His report states: “Notwithstanding the proposed mitigation measures and safeguards, I have concluded that the continuation of landfilling at Wester Hatton would have some adverse effect on the amenity of the area; including by intensifying the perception of this area as having been unduly burdened with landfill sites. I considered it reasonable for local people to want some certainty about when landfilling at this site would be completed.”

Mid-Formartine councillor Paul Johnston, who gave evidence on the council’s behalf at the appeal, said that the news was good for the residents of Potterton, Belhelvie and Blackdog.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “This judgement sends out a clear signal. The government reporter accepted that people are fed up with the impact of landfill on the amenity of the area, and that the council’s Zero Waste Plan means that there will be less need for this sort of waste disposal in future.

“Had an extension until 2029 been given the go ahead, we would have had a situation where anyone entering Aberdeenshire from the city would be greeted by a ‘gateway of rubbish’, with landfill sites operating on either side of the A90.”