Frequently Asked Questions
WHERE IS THE PROPOSED SITE?
The proposed facility is located on vacant land within the established Oldhall Industrial Estate between the A78 and Long Drive, on the southern side of the Lowmac Alloys materials recycling facility, and to the east of the Shewalton Waste Transfer Station operated by North Ayrshire Council.
WHO CURRENTLY OWNS THE SITE?
The land is owned by Lowmac Alloys, part of the wider area specialising in waste handling and other industrial activities. The site previously had permission for an energy recovery from waste facility, similar to our proposal.
Lowmac currently operates a materials recycling facility on the adjacent site, with a permit from Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to process mixed waste for recycling. They currently extract large volumes of recyclable materials for reuse, and the leftover waste is currently transported by road to Hull before being exported to other European countries for use in energy generation. This fuel would instead be available for Oldhall ERF.
Current waste management activity at Lowmac will continue as normal. As well as the Irvine site, Lowmac has two other waste handling facilities in the area that could also provide fuel for the facility.
HOW WILL THE ENERGY RECOVERY FACILITY WORK?
- An enclosed conveyor belt transfers the waste from the Lowmac Alloys site immediately next door.
- Post-recycled waste from a bunker is put into a fuel hopper by a crane and placed on a moving grate.
- The waste is treated at high temperatures.
- The hot air created passes through a boiler that converts water into high pressure steam.
- This steam drives a highly efficient turbine to produce electricity.
- Hot air from the boiler is treated to meet strict air quality standards, with particles and residues filtered out.
- The electricity generated is exported via an underground cable to the national grid to be used by homes and businesses.
- Part of the steam created could be used to supply heat to other nearby businesses.
- By-products such as ash and metals can be reused and recycled. Ash is recycled for use as an aggregate in construction, for example.
- Air quality is continuously monitored to ensure it meets strict environmental standards.
- A control room monitors the whole process to safeguard health and environment.
HOW WILL YOU PROTECT LOCAL AIR QUALITY?
Oldhall ERF will be subject to a strict Environmental Permit regulated by SEPA. We will use advanced controls and performance monitoring technology to make sure air emissions meet stringent modern standards.
As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment we prepared to support the planning application, we carried out a detailed assessment of the potential effects on air quality, looking at emissions from the stack, as well as HGVs visiting the facility.
WILL YOU IMPACT LOCAL ECOLOGY?
No. The impacts of our facility on the adjoining Oldhall Ponds wildlife site and reserve have been carefully assessed and we won’t cause harm to the habitats or wildlife that use them and will work closely with the Scottish Wildlife Trust who manages the site. We will also ensure that disturbance to wildlife is minimised during construction.
WILL THE FACILITY BE NOISY?
No. The facility’s design means that almost all activity will take place indoors and therefore any noise impacts in the wider area will be insignificant.
We have carried out background noise monitoring and used that data to assess the potential effects on the nearest receptors to the site, having regard to published standards and guidance. This information was provided as part of the EIA Report which accompanied the planning application.
WILL IT CREATE MORE TRAFFIC?
We believe that the project will have little or no impact on traffic because:
- No HGVs will need to go through any residential areas or the town. All construction and operational HGVs will have direct easy access to the site from the A71 and A78 via Long Drive.
- Lowmac will supply a substantial proportion of the fuel we need from materials already being delivered to their site next door.
- Waste will no longer need to be transported away from the Lowmac site, and we estimate this will take up to 20 HGVs a day off the roads.
HOW WILL THE FACILITY BE DESIGNED?
Our design can be seen here.
HOW TALL WILL THE FACILITY BE?
The tallest part of the facility (the flue stack) will be no more than 60 metres high. By way of a comparison, the stack for the approved biomass power facility at the nearby GSK site is 73 metres high. The footprint of the facility is much smaller than that of the Caledonian papermill or Ardagh Glass factory at Portland Place in Irvine.
HOW WILL THE HEAT GENERATED BE USED?
We’re continuing to look at options to provide nearby commercial and industrial users with the heat we generate. This would make the process even more efficient.
HOW WILL YOU BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR?
As well as creating local jobs and investment, we intend to play an active role in the local community and support both local community and environmental initiatives.
WILL YOU IMPACT CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS?
The carbon impacts of the Oldhall ERF have been assessed against a variety of scenarios, including business as usual, landfilling all materials, and only generating electricity.
In every scenario which includes building the ERF, there is a substantial beneficial effect, reducing the carbon burden of the materials handled substantially. An illustration of this is given below.
GWP100a (ktCO2e) stands for Global Warming Potential, (which is by convention measured over 100 years), and ktCO2e stands for thousands of tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent.
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