Communities to receive funds for environment improvements following Longannet ash incident

  28 March 2022
Communities affected by dust emissions from an incident involving Valleyfield Ash Lagoons at the former Longannet Power Station in 2017 will benefit from £100,000 of funds which are available for environmental projects in their local areas.

The funds have been provided by ScottishPower Generation (Assets) Limited (SPGAL) as a voluntary goodwill gesture following discussions with environmental regulator the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

SPGAL took ownership of the Valleyfield Ash Lagoons in 2019 from former operator Scottish Power Generation Limited who owned the lagoons when the incident took place.

The Community Councils of Low Valleyfield, High Valleyfield, Torryburn and Newmills, Culross and Kincardine will each receive £10,000 to provide funding or grants to projects which support and promote environmental improvements, renewable energy or energy efficiency in their areas. A further £50,000 fund will also be held by Fife Council to provide funding or grants for the same kind of projects, for the benefit of those affected communities.

Following the incident in 2017 SEPA served Enforcement Notices on ScottishPower Generation Limited - the company which held the environmental authorisation for the lagoons at the time. The Enforcement Notices were complied with and SEPA continued to consider whether any additional enforcement action was appropriate.

In 2019 the environmental authorisation for the lagoons was transferred to the new owner, SPGAL. SEPA held ongoing discussions with SPGAL regarding the impact of the 2017 incident on local communities and SPGAL decided in recognition of the significant impact on the local community arising out of the incident, it was appropriate to take some final action to conclude the resolution of the incident by providing voluntary funding as a goodwill gesture.

In recognition of this gesture, which provides a good outcome for the environment and local affected communities, no further enforcement action will be taken by SEPA in relation to the incident at Longannet.

Ian Buchanan, Chief Officer of Compliance and Beyond, for SEPA said: “We are pleased to see this action being taken for the environment and the communities surrounding the former Longannet Power Station.

“SPGAL has voluntarily engaged in ongoing dialogue with SEPA on resolution action to provide funding for environmental improvements, benefitting the lives of those living in the impacted areas, providing a positive outcome.”

Lisa Moir, ScottishPower’s Site Lead at Longannet, said: “We’re committed to bringing about a better future and part of this work is supporting and enabling communities to deliver projects that will facilitate their own green ambitions. We’re pleased this gesture of goodwill is being directed to support environmental initiatives within the Valleyfield communities and hope these projects will leave lasting legacies for years to come.”

Alastair Mutch, Fife Council, Community Manager, South and West Fife said: “The monies provided by Scottish Power Generation (Assets) Ltd will be added to a participatory budgeting fund that SPGAL have previously contributed to, with these latest funds supporting local communities to fund projects and initiatives that will protect the environment and reduce the impacts of climate change. I'm confident the funding will be beneficial for the targeted communities and used in a positive way.”

Willie Ferguson, Chairperson of the Valleyfield Liaison Committee said: “This gesture of goodwill will help Valleyfield communities realise projects that will make a real, tangible difference to our local environment. We’ve worked closely with the team at Longannet for a number of years now and through their continued support we’ve been able to open up this funding stream to ensure that the money will go towards projects that our communities believe in.”

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

  • The Longannet dust incident between 11 April and 5 May 2017 was in breach of the PPC PERMIT NUMBER PPC/A/1004266 and was an offence under Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012.
  • The Permit was held by Scottish Power Generation Limited (SPGL) at the time.
  • Between 2020 and 2022 work was carried out to re-vegetate areas on the ash lagoons as part of remediation works on the site. Full restoration is now underway.
  • Further dust suppression equipment was installed by SPGAL in 2021 following a dust incident. A warning letter was issued and SEPA continues to monitor activity at the site and work with SPGAL on compliance.