Shetlands Islands Council: Lerwick Energy Recovery Plant, Lerwick, Shetland - PPC Variation Application

Closed 29 Jun 2022

Opened 1 Jun 2022


It is part of SEPA’s remit to maintain a high-quality environment by setting permit conditions which limit the impacts associated with installations operating under Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) Part A regulations.

Application details

We received an application from Shetland Islands Council to vary their existing PPC permit PPC/A/1003141 at Lerwick Energy Recovery Plant to accept and incinerate a restricted type and quantity of healthcare waste.

A summary of their application is available below:

SEPA received an application from Shetland Islands Council (SIC), on the 14 January 2022, to vary the conditions of their existing permit (PPC/A/1003141), issued under the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012, to accept and incinerate a restricted type and quantity of healthcare waste. Specifically wastes from the ‘European Waste Catalogue 1801 series’:

  • 180103* (wastes whose collection and disposal is subject to special requirements in order to prevent infection);
  • 180106* (chemicals consisting of, or containing, hazardous substances);
  • 180107 (chemicals other than those mentioned in 180106); and
  • and 180109 (medicines other than cytostatic or cytotoxic drugs).

During the pandemic (and as a result of limited processing capacity on mainland Scotland following the collapse of the previous NHS waste contractor) SEPA issued an enforcement position that allowed SIC to temporarily accept and process a restricted amount of clinical waste at their Lerwick Energy Recovery Plant (LERP). This application is to formalise that enforcement position by amending the conditions of the existing permit to allow LERP to accept and incinerate specified clinical wastes.

New infrastructure (initially a front-end hoist lift and feed hopper, to be replaced with a fully automated bin loading system) is being installed within the main process building to ensure that all hazardous clinical waste can be fed into the incinerator without unnecessary handling or mixing with other wastes. There are no changes to site emissions or overall waste volumes expected from this variation request.

The Operator has managed the plant in compliance with their permit over the two-year period they have been accepting healthcare waste under an agreed ‘temporary enforcement position’.

In determining this application SEPA has ensured that all legislative requirements have been met, that due regard has been given to all applicable guidance, and that consideration has been given to issues raised during the consultation process.

Determination of the application has found no potential for significant pollution and the measures proposed by the Applicant have been determined to represent Best Available Techniques (BAT). Additional permit control conditions are proposed to ensure pollution, and the potential for incidents, are minimised in line with BAT.

A summary of their application is available below:

Why your views matter

SEPA have assessed the application and has drafted new permit conditions. These, along with the decision document, are available below:

This is your opportunity to let us know your views on the proposed conditions. The consultation will be open for 28 days from date of publication. SEPA will consider any comments received between 1 June and 29 June 2022 before issuing the final decision.

Your comments will be published unless you ask us not to, in which case we will publish a note saying that we received a response but have not made it publicly available.

What happens next

SEPA will consider any comments received during the consultation period between 1 June and 29 June 2022 before issuing the final decision.  If no comments are received, SEPA will issue the final decision no later than 6 July 2022 and issued documents will be published here. 

If you have any queries, please contact


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