Fears grow over waste dumped at former Birdston coup at Kirkintilloch

Concern is growing over the alleged dumping of toxic waste at the former Birdston Coup at Kirkintilloch.
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This week, an MSP criticised Scotland’s environmental watchdog over its investigation after dozens of complaints from residents and Milton of Campsie Community Council.

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay said that the probe by Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) had “crucially left out elements of the ground that were waterlogged.”

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She added: "In partnership with local stakeholders, including the community council, we wish to see a full and complete investigation of the site and urge SEPA to publish their findings immediately.”

Residents have been taking photos of the site, including this one which a local man said is of 'liquid containers'Residents have been taking photos of the site, including this one which a local man said is of 'liquid containers'
Residents have been taking photos of the site, including this one which a local man said is of 'liquid containers'

A waste management company have planning permission to infill the site and restore the land to agricultural use.

But the community council, in reports through the Kirkintilloch Herald, have expressed fears of a “potential environmental disaster” after the site operator blocked a public right of way in the vicinity and dumped slurry and waste along the route.

In a letter to the Herald last week, Birdston resident Graham Beastall added his voice to local concerns.

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He said: “Those of us who live in Birdston have seen hundreds of lorries visiting the site over the past 18 months, carrying widely varying loads of waste."

Mr Beastall claimed: “Residents have provided evidence of toxic materials.”

He added: “After months of failing to visit the site, representatives from SEPA and East Dunbartonshire Council finally visited on January 21.

"That they could see no evidence of ‘unapproved materials’ is hardly surprising since they are buried under tons of earth and no effort was made to look for them because the site was ‘too wet’.

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“A further concern of this dumping is the impact on drainage of the River Kelvin flood plain.

“Land to the north of the dump site is now permanently under water, making an important track impassable.

“Running alongside the dump site is a burn that is essential for drainage – this burn now contains run-off slurry from the dumped waste.

“Blockage of this burn would exacerbate flooding in the area, including further closures of the road between Kirkintilloch and Milton of Campsie.”

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In response, Ann Davie, EDC’s Depute Chief Executive, said: "The site of the former Birdston Coup has planning permission to infill the site and restore the land to agricultural use.

"There are conditions on the planning permission relating to the finalrestoration of the site once operations have ceased.

"These include requirements for it to be adequately drained and landscaped including restoration of the paths within and adjacent to the site.

"We will of course make sure those conditions are complied with oncompletion of the works.

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"We have had a follow-up site meeting with the developers and we willcontinue to work closely with them to get the core path reinstated andimproved as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) confirmed to the Herald that it has been receiving complaints from members of the public regarding waste activities at Birdston Coup.

A spokesperson said: “The operator currently has authorisations registered with SEPA which permit waste to be imported onto the site.

“SEPA officers carried out a site visit last month and set out a number of remedial actions that the operator is required to undertake.

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"The site will be inspected to ensure these actions are carried out. An additional request was also sent to the operator for information regarding the site to assist our ongoing investigations.

“SEPA will continue to robustly regulate the site to ensure compliance with the authorisations and relevant environmental regulations.”

The community council have complained to both the council and the Scottish Environmental Agency (SEPA).

Brian McFall, Secretary of Milton of Campsie Community Council said on Monday: “For months now we have watched as East dunbartonshire Council departments try to pass the buck around each other and on to SEPA or anyone else they can find,

"We expect the council to perform a proper duty of care in relation to the villages of Milton of Campsie and Birdston.”

The Herald has been unable to contact the company.

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