Hazards consent refusal viewed as inconsistent

A drinks manufacturer has won hazardous substances consent (HSC) to store ethanol at a whisky warehouse in Scotland after ministers accepted a reporter's advice that it would not increase risk at nearby homes.

The council granted permission last year for three extra units at the site. The appellant proposed to store 180,170 tonnes of an ethanol and water mixture, of which 90,000 tonnes had deemed consent. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advised that the risk to local people was so small that there were no significant reasons for refusing consent.

Since the level of hazardous material at the site would grow, the council argued that it was reasonable to assume the risk to nearby homes would increase. But the reporter reasoned that in permitting new warehouses the council must have been aware of the intention to store whisky in them.

He found it inconsistent to grant permission but withhold HSC. The council had produced no sound scientific arguments to justify overriding HSE advice, he concluded. The risk would be acceptable, he advised.

Reporter: Michael Cunliffe; Written representations.

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