- European politicians added their weight to a campaign
to close a cattle incinerator that has been unwittingly burning carcasses
infected with BSE.
- A four-strong delegation from the petitions committee
of the European Parliament inspected the Sacone Environmental incinerator
at Carntyne in the east end of Glasgow.
- They were investigating claims made by local residents
that blood had leaked from the plant on to neighbouring streets and that
smoke from the facility posed a health hazard.
- The MEPs urged the Scottish Executive to take urgent
action to close or relocate the incinerator.
- It is not licensed to burn BSE-infected cattle, but a
loophole means carcasses can be burned before test results are returned.
BSE tests can be completed within 24 hours in France and Germany, the delegation
said, but the same tests take up to two weeks in Britain.
- Based on a snapshot of statistics that Scottish Parliament
researchers obtained, it is estimated one BSE-infected carcass is burnt
there every fortnight when the plant is open. It has been closed four times
by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) for breeches over
emissions and its filtering systems since opening five years ago.
- Herbert Bosch, Eurig Wyn, Felipe Camison and David Lowe,
of the petitions committee, inspected it following calls from Dorothy-Grace
Elder, the Glasgow MSP, who said 1500 people each year had put their names
to the closure bid.
- Mr Lowe, petitions committee secretary, said: "Even
if there is a margin of risk that someone could somehow contract CJD as
a result of the position of an incinerator then that plant should not be
- An executive spokesman said: "Improvements recently
introduced by the operator will be monitored to ensure the higher standards
of the waste incineration directive that are not due to be introduced for
existing incinerators until 2005 are now achieved." No-one from Sacone
Environmental was available for comment.