SEPA Under Fire For West Carron Failures

Michael Matheson MSP

A group of local politicians have blasted the record o the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) over its management of the West Carron Landfill.

Last week the Falkirk Herald reported that the Waste Management License had been transferred to local company, Central Demolition following years on confusion since the previous holder, GS Services Ltd went into Administration leaving the landfill site being operated by a company, Oran 6 who were neither the landfill owners nor license holders.Falkirk West MSP, Michael Matheson, who has hosted a number of meetings with SEPA, local Councillors and representatives of the local residents association has hit out at the protection agency accusing them of “following their own narrow agenda rather than protecting the local community.”

Mr Matheson went on to say,

“The results of recent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests confirm my suspicion that SEPA have been more concerned with not frightening off any prospective new operator for the site than properly addressing the needs of the local community in that area.

The level of detail the agency volunteered in all of our meetings with them is miniscule in comparison to the information that was forced out of them under FOI legislation.

I fell both angry and let down by SEPA. It’s time they started showing more concern for the people affected by the landfill site than they have to date.”

Mr Matheson was joined by his SNP colleague for Falkirk East, Angus MacDonald MSP, whose constituency borders the landfill.

The Falkirk East MSP has been critical of SEPA’s record in the past raising the West Carron management problems within parliament recently. Now the recently elected MSP has approached Environment Minister, Stewart Stevenson on his concerns. As a direct consequence the Minister is to meet with SEPA and both local MSPs on the issue.

Angus MacDonald said,

SEPA’s first responsibility is to protect the general public through the rigid supervision of waste disposal companies and their sites.

The number of breaches in the conditions of the license from the previous operators and the reluctance of SEPA to keep community representatives reasonably informed of breaches on their doorsteps was a grave error on their part and has resulted in a major loss of confidence in SEPA.

That is why I have raised these concerns directly with the Minister and will continue to do so until SEPA perform their tasks in a more community focussed way.

Falkirk North Councillors, Cecil Meiklejohn and David Alexander recently met with Falkirk Council Planners, Environmental Health Officers and Lawyers to seek answers to the continued  problems affecting the community.

Said Cllr Meiklejohn,

Falkirk Council may not have direct responsible for the management of the West Carron landfill site but they need to work with SEPA on associated issues and make sure the community are kept fully informed.

That means ensuring SEPA carry out their responsibilities to the New Carron community by acting as an open and transparent publically funded body answerable to the people.

That has not happened in full to date but this has to change if this community is to be relived of the misery they are suffered from this past few years.

Fellow Falkirk North SNP Councillor, David Alexander said,

Its time for SEPA to shape up or admit they are out of their depth and local operatives are replaced by officials who will put the community first.”

Background notes – SEPA have recently admitted the following breaches in regulations over a short period in early 2011 but never informed the local community of MSPs and Councillors who were meeting with them over that period.

  • Methane trigger concentrations were breached at 4 boreholes
  • Carbon Dioxide trigger concentrations breached at 9 boreholes
  • Oxygen trigger concentraction breached at 7 boreholes.


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