I was delighted to speak in the Monica Lennon's debate Incinerators, Public Health and Planning in Scotland.
Monica Lennon and I sit on the Local Government and Communities Committee, which is dealing with the seriously-flawed Planning Bill. This debate raises a number of important matters that are part of our considerations.
First, the role of planning. The Bill says nothing about that. Readers are left with no idea of what it is for. What is should be about is creating great places and protecting great places. Places that enhance the health and wellbeing of residents.
I led a members debate on the importance of the greenbelt last week that dealt with that very issue. Those who know me will know my passion for protecting Scotland’s environment.
The second issue is the way people feel remote from the decision-making process. There is no doubt that communities feel excluded from the planning system. Clean Power Properties were met with opposition to their original incinerator plans at the site of the former Craighead School back in 2013 and a campaign was launched against the proposals.
South Lanarkshire Council refused the application but a decision was taken by the Scottish Government Reporter in 2015 to overturn that. Clean Power Properties then came back with a revised application for something even bigger. It has yet to be considered. I am on the side of the community in this.
I also calling for a moratorium on new incinerators but we need to deal with our waste somehow. We can’t go on dumping it in landfill sites. They are also controversial. I played a part in getting Glasgow’s massive landfill on the edge of East Kilbride shut down to further waste some time ago.
From South Lanarkshire to North Lanarkshire we have plans for incinerator, what we don't want to see is the areas we represent to be turned into incinerator central.
We need to trust the local politicians.