Local residents may be aware of Forth Energy’s plan to build a £360 million biomass power plant by Leith Docks. Leith has witnessed many developments in recent years and is an area with huge potential. However, I’m not convinced that the latest proposal would serve the interests of Leith or its residents.
The developers, Forth Energy, maintain that the biomass power plant will help to contribute towards the country’s renewable energy targets as well as creating local jobs and training opportunities. Despite this, a number of constituents have already contacted my office to object to the proposal and, I must admit, I can fully appreciate their concerns.
The Docks are, quite simply, the wrong location for the site. The biomass plant would be constructed very near to local housing. There are also a number of schools and nurseries nearby. The plant is far too large scale a development for a residential area. Expected to be up to 100 metres in height, the plant would be physically obtrusive and ugly. The area is already blighted by the Seafield Sewage Plant and would be further blighted if this proposal gets the go ahead.
There are also doubts over the green arguments for the development. Forth Energy is expected to ship woodchip for the plant all the way from the United States and Canada. In addition, as lorries will be required to access the site, the plant will inevitably increase traffic in the area. Clearly, questions have to be raised over the plant’s impact on our carbon footprint.
Over the years, Leith Docks has undergone many improvements and any new development opportunities must build on this. We only need to look to Liverpool to see how a dockyard can be transformed. Albert Dock in Liverpool has been put to great use. With cafés, restaurants, museums and a Tate gallery, Albert Dock is a thriving area, popular with locals and visitors alike.
Biomass may well have a future in Scotland. However, Leith is the wrong location for this development and I will continue to oppose Forth Energy’s proposals.