I have been contacted by a huge number of constituents from Stonehouse and the surrounding areas with concern about the planning application that has been submitted by Viridor for a Waste Incinerator on the former site of Overwood Farm.

I campaigned long and hard with Dovesdale Action group against Scotgen plans to build an incinerator in the Stonehouse area when I was first elected. Many of the problems I have with the old proposal I now share with this new one. Chief among these problems is that the local community has been clear for almost a decade now – they neither want nor need an incinerator.

As part of the campaign against Scotgen more than 24,000 people objected to the planning application. At the time that broke the record for number of objections to a planning proposal!

I also have my concerns about the environmental impact of incineration. This is particularly the case when placed into the context of the Scottish Government efforts to decarbonise the Scottish economy. The ambitious target set by the Government to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 will require a move away from incineration to ensure we are delivering on our commitments.

I have already met with Viridor alongside MP for Lanark and Hamilton East - Angela Crawley and SNP Candidate for Clydesdale – Mairi McAllan to make my concerns known. We also raised the problems any consultation carried out during this pandemic would have in reaching older and more vulnerable residents in the community. We strongly urged Viridor in no uncertain terms to withdraw their planning application until the pandemic had passed.

I have also met with members of the Dovesdale Action group to see how I can best support their campaign and will continue to work closely with them over the coming months.