HIGHLAND Council has confirmed opposition to a £43million waste-to-energy incineration plant planned for Invergordon.
The controversial proposal - which has prompted a vigorous local campaign by objectors uneasy about the potential health implications of the plant - is now the subject of an appeal being determined by a Scottish Government Reporter.
The proposal was back on the agenda of the area planning applications committee on Tuesday when councillors were asked to confirm the reasons why the Council had refused the initial application from Combined Power and Heat (Highlands) Limited.
It wants to erect a residual waste to energy combined heat and power plant on land at the Cromarty Firth Industrial Park in Invergordon.
After heated debate back in August 2009, committee members refused the application - which had been recommended for approval by officials.
The applicant successfully appealed the decision - which was then later quashed by the Court of Session, following a high-profile campaign bankrolled by Ross Estates owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the scheme.
The appeal will now be determined by a Reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers at a Public Local Inquiry in June.
Highland Council said in a statement that in light of the fact that over two-and-a-half years have passed since the original committee decision, this week's meeting "was an opportunity for members to review their original reasons for refusal and consider whether any of these reasons for refusal should be amended to reflect the changes that have taken place in the interim period".
It said that after hearing from consultants Ironside Farrar, who have prepared a planning statement reviewing the council’s position, and AECOM who have reviewed traffic and transport issues surrounding the application, members unanimously agreed the recommendations contained within the consultants reports.
This adds a new reason for refusal, in light of the Council’s adoption of the Highland Wide Local Development Plan. The Council agreed to amend some of the original reasons for refusal.
The statement said: "It is vital that robust reasons for refusal form the basis of the Council’s case at appeal. (The) decision was a positive step towards defending the decision, taken locally, to refuse planning permission."