At the January 2017 meeting of Leith Links Community Council there was some discussion relating to the recent closure of Powderhall Waste Transfer Station and its impact upon our area. A waste transfer station is being established at Seafield Community Recycling Centre and there were some concerns about possible odour & traffic problems arising.
Councillor Adam McVey, Leith Ward and Vice – Convenor of the Transport & Environment Committee of City of Edinburgh Council agreed to put some information together for us to circulate amongst the community to make clear the situation.
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Powderhall waste transfer station was closed after discussions with SEPA, who issue the licence and monitor compliance, after a number of concerns regarding the operation and condition of the site were raised.
The closure is happening ahead of the new state of the art waste treatment plant at Millerhill coming on-stream.
Interim arrangements have been put in place to use a commercially run existing facility at Granton. The end destination of the City’s waste for processing will remain the same until the new site at Millerhill is up and running.
The Community Recycling site at Seafield is being developed to include a new collection depot and waste transfer station. When complete (around April 2018) about 1/3 of the City’s waste will be tipped at Seafield and then taken to Millerhill when the plant is operational. In the interim period of Seafield being operational but Millerhill not yet on-stream (as little as 6 months between both happening) waste will be taken to the existing destination of Dunbar.
Traffic movements have been taken into consideration. As part of the second phase of the changes at Seafield, a new access road to the Seafield Community Recycling Centre will be constructed to improve access for residents and allow for safer queuing areas during busy times.
There is a significant difference between Powderhall and the new uses being built at Seafield. Powerhall is a very old and unreliable waste disposal facility. The new Seafield depot is, first and foremost, intended as a waste collection depot where staff and vehicles will be based. The second phase of the project will be to build a waste transfer shed on site. This will allow the operational vehicles to deposit waste into a shed, for it then to be bulked and transferred to the end disposal facility. This will allow our bin lorries to spend less time travelling to tip and more time undertaking collections. The majority of the Council’s waste is deposited in Powderhall, where as only around 30% to 40% will be deposited at Seafield. The handling equipment at Powderhall is very complex and prone to mechanical problems where as Seafield will be operated with very simple equipment that is robust and easy to replace. The new Seafield facility will have to be constructed in line with guidance from SEPA and will require effective odour limiting controls meaning the impact on the surrounding area will be incomparable with Powerdhall.