Local residents and environmental campaigners have criticised Octopus Energy for funding a new incinerator being built in North Ayrshire in Scotland. Octopus Energy is well known for providing greener energy, but the Oldhall incinerator will contribute to the climate crisis by adding to Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Oldhall incinerator was given planning permission to be built by North Ayrshire Council in 2019. The plant will burn 180,000 tonnes of waste a year from households and businesses. SEPA requires all new incinerators to export heat as well as power within seven years of commencing operation, but Doveryard has no specific plans to link with potential heat users.

The Oldhall incinerator is owned by Doveryard Limited, which is owned by funds managed by Octopus Renewables, Octopus Energy Generations fund management team. Octopus Energy is one of the largest energy companies in the UK and claim to generate and supply renewable energy, promising to work closely with communities.

The local community group, Irvine Without Incinerators, is opposing the incinerator on health and environmental grounds, and they’ve said that locals were not properly consulted with on the proposals.

Ian Wallace from Irvine Without Incinerators said:

“There has been limited meaningful public consultation before and after the planning application for this plant was approved. Council consultation has been the bare minimum. The majority of the people of Irvine and surrounding area have been denied the opportunity to ask questions about this application.

“Although Doveryard’s PR consultancy has set up a local liaison committee, they have a rigorous vetting process; why are they afraid of discussion if they have nothing to hide?

“I am also concerned about the publicity circulated by the company regarding production of enough power to heat 30,000 houses. It gives the impression that local people will benefit from this plant, but evidence shows that no houses in mainland Scotland get heating from such plants. This raises the question, if we can’t trust them to tell the truth about the energy they will produce, how can we trust them on anything else, such as health and safety?”

Veronika Liebscher, local resident and member of Irvine Without Incinerators said:

“I was horrified to find that the ‘green’ energy company, Octopus, is funding this incinerator. I can’t be the only customer thinking their environmental claims are not completely truthful and wondering whether to buy my power elsewhere.”

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“Incinerators are incompatible with a sustainable future for Scotland because burning waste releases carbon emissions and reduces the amount of material available for reuse and recycling. Octopus Energy should not be funding an incinerator in Irvine, ignoring the concerns of local communities and supporting a technology which cannot be considered low carbon.”