Recycling & Billet Casting Facility – Fort William

Virtual consultation

Welcome to our virtual consultation hub where you will learn more about the Recycling and Billet Casting Facility which is proposed adjacent to the ALVANCE British Aluminium smelter in Fort William. This project has been developed in synergy with AARTEE E&C

This virtual exhibition has been prepared to engage and inform the local community of the emerging proposals and to provide the opportunity to submit comments that will inform any possible future planning application.

We welcome your views on the proposals. Details of how to provide feedback are given below.

Digital Consultation

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions and following emergency legislation from the Scottish Government, developers are currently encouraged to use online or digital methods of engaging with the public on upcoming developments whilst public gatherings are not possible. In light of this, ALVANCE has developed this website to ensure an effective public consultation process can take place and crucially to inform the public about the proposed development and to gather feedback on the proposals.

The exhibition materials that would have been on display at the public exhibition can be viewed on this website. As part of the consultation, we will be hosting a live & interactive event on Thursday 25 February 2021 from 3.30pm – 7pm where the project team will be available on this website to answer your questions through a dedicated chat system as part of our digital consultation. This will allow direct communication with the client and project team and enable any questions or comments to be addressed.


We want to hear your thoughts on the proposals and would welcome any feedback you may have.

You can provide comments through our website via the feedback form which is in the ‘downloads’ section.

You can also email any comments to

Alternatively, comments can be mailed to Rosie Flannigan of ALVANCE at Lochaber Smelter, North Road, Fort William, PH33 6TH.

Information and exhibition boards on this site will be available for comment until Monday 15th March 2021, which is the deadline for public comments.

Please note that comments made will be to ALVANCE, the prospective applicant, not the planning authority. There will be an opportunity to submit formal comments to The Highland Council, upon submission of a planning application.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Q&A boxes at the bottom of the pages.


To create sustainable economic, social, and environmental future for Lochaber Smelter & power station, its employees and local community by being the producer of choice in a continually evolving market.

“I’m very pleased to be putting these plans forward which will provide a long-term future for our Fort William operations. Since putting forward our original plans for a wheels factory the automotive industry has gone through significant decline in the UK. Fortunately, the construction industry is buoyant and is using ever more aluminium billet giving us the chance to produce a quality product making use of primary metal from the smelter and recycled scrap. There will be opportunities for local firms to be involved in the construction of the new facilities and new job opportunities for local people.”
-Brian King, Chairman of ALVANCE British Aluminium

The Site

In December 2016, GFG Alliance completed its purchase of the Lochaber Aluminium Smelter, the associated hydroelectric station and over 100,000 acres of estate land around Fort William.

The site was acquired with a view to operating the aluminium smelter, utilising existing and proposed renewable power, and significantly investing in the plant to develop additional industrial processes, such as the Recycling & Billet Casting Facility.

The following images and diagrams provide an overview of the existing aluminium smelter site and the existing smelting and power generation process.

Swipe / click the dots to navigate through the images >>

Proposed Development Concept

The proposed development comprises:

  • a recycling and billet casting facility,
  • hard standing,
  • landscaping, and
  • ancillary development.

The new facility will produce billets for the domestic construction sector which currently relies heavily on imports. With current smelting processes already powered by GFG Alliance’s zero emission hydro-electric power, the new addition of aluminium recycling and expansion into downstream billets will allow ALVANCE to manufacture some of the most sustainably produced billets in the world, giving it a competitive advantage as the demand for green aluminium grows.

The following video, images and diagrams provide further information on; the process flow, testing of site options for the building location and the emerging architectural concept design for the facility. The architectural design reflects an efficient, contextual and environmental responsive design approach. The articulation of the building form creates opportunities for north light and solar PV on the roof, while a rational and efficient structure and massing concept work alongside the process. Information is also included on the initial concept design ideas for the Water Canning Facility adjacent to the Recycling & Billet Casting Facility, the Water Canning Facility will be subject to a separate planning application.

Swipe / click the dots to navigate through the images >>

EIA & Consenting Process

Due to the scale and nature of the proposed development an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required. The developer has appointed ITPEnergised to undertake an EIA of the proposed development. The purpose of EIA is to identify the aspects of the environment likely to be significantly affected by the development. The following topics will be assessed, the results of which will be set out in the EIA Report submitted with the planning application:

  • Landscape and Visual
  • Access Traffic and Transport
  • Hydrology and Hydrogeology
  • Ecology
  • Air Quality
  • Noise
  • Socio-economic effects
  • Climate Change
  • Major Accidents and Disasters
Access, Traffic & Transport

The planning application will be supported by a Transport Assessment and a traffic modelling exercise given the sensitivities around the transport network in Fort William. This is in addition to a supporting traffic and transport chapter within the environmental impact assessment report (EIAR).

The purpose of these supporting documents is to identify the existing accessibility of the site, including a review of the available sustainable transport options, as well as a review of the standard and operational characteristics of the existing road network.

In addition to a baseline review, the Transport Assessment will address the following issues:

  • Access Arrangements
  • Operating hours
  • Trip Generation Potential
  • Traffic Impacts
  • Travel Plan and Sustainable Transport Enhancements
  • Construction Stage Traffic Management Plan Measures
Access Arrangements

The Billet Plant will be accessed by road via the A82(T) from the existing Lochaber Smelter access roundabout. The existing access road into the site from the roundabout is suitable for all vehicles and active travel movements expected.

A new internal access road will be constructed to take both staff and operational (HGV) traffic to the Billet Plant.

Operating Hours & Personnel

The Billet Plant will maintain the operating hours currently in place at the Lochaber Smelter. This is a five-shift system of 12-hours per shift on a ‘three on, two off, three on’ pattern.

Trip Generation Potential

The following table details the absolute maximum anticipated daily movements for staff vehicle and HGV traffic during the respective construction and operational phases. The figures quoted are the overall sum of inbound and outbound trips over a 24-hour period.

Trip Generation Potential Staff (employees / site operatives) vehicles Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) Total (staff + HGVs
Construction Stage 120 90 210
Operational Stage 22 62 84

The construction stage will be the most onerous for vehicle trip generation, with a maximum of approximately 210 trips generated during the peat removal process. This is a 30% reduction of transport movements compared to the predicted numbers for the construction phase of the alloy wheel plant.

Traffic Impacts

The Transport Assessment (including a traffic modelling exercise) will determine the impacts of increased vehicle trips onto the local road network which will result from the operational Billet Plant. Planning policy requires developers to offset any potential adverse impacts of increased road traffic by introducing mitigation measures, if required.

The Transport Assessment shall therefore set out the impacts of development traffic in comparison with the baseline situation in Fort William. Should mitigation measures be required, these will also be detailed within the Transport Assessment.

Construction stage traffic impacts (as well as operational impacts) will be addressed within the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). The Access, Traffic & Transport chapter of the EIAR sets out the impact (in terms of percentage increase) of each aspect.

The environmental effects under consideration will include:

  • Severance
  • Driver delay
  • Pedestrian delay
  • Pedestrian amenity
  • Accidents and safety
  • Dust and dirt.
Travel Plan and Sustainable Transport Enhancements

Post consent, it is envisaged that the existing Travel Plan for Lochaber Smelter will be updated with the focus on reducing car-based travel to/from the site by the expanded workforce. The updated Travel Plan will put forward a number of measures and actions which will seek to encourage the use of sustainable transport modes while reducing reliance on private car journeys (and the associated environmental effects thereof).

Construction Stage Traffic Management Plan Measures

A mitigation package will be required to accommodate development traffic on the local and strategic road network during both the construction and operational phases of the development. A construction stage Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) will be required to mitigate the effects of construction traffic (and associated environmental) effects. The CTMP will contain the following information:

  • Construction programme and phasing
  • Quantification of construction movements
  • Working hours
  • Measures to minimise construction traffic impacts (delivery control, sustainability,speed limits, designated haul routes, staff induction, workforce travel arrangements,signage etc)
  • Communication arrangements (with local community, The Highland Council, Community Council, other construction sites).

The Transport Assessment and Access, Traffic & Transport chapter of the EIAR will seek to establish the worst-case traffic impacts associated with the proposed Billet Plant being brought forward at the Lochaber Smelter site in Fort William.

A traffic modelling exercise will be undertaken using industry-standard software to determine the extent of impact that the operational traffic will have on the local road network.

Where impacts are deemed to be unacceptable in line with transport policy and guidance, mitigation measures will be introduced to offset these impacts and ensure there are no adverse environmental effects.

Timeline & Next Steps

The below list and timeline provide an overview of key dates and next steps moving forward.

1. Proposal of Application Notice submitted – November 2020
2. Formal Pre-Application Consultation with The Highland Council – February 2020 – ongoing
3. Process and Plant Design – December 2020 – March 2021
4. Environmental Impact Assessment January – March 2021
5. Virtual Consultation Interactive Event 25th February 2021
6. EIA Drafting & Planning Application Preparation March 2021
7. Target planning application submission – March/April 2021
8. Post submission consultation/engagement – April -May 2021

Other Projects

There are a number of other projects which are also being looked at on site and in the surrounding areas.

This virtual consultation is focused on the planning consent for the Billet Facility and each of the below mentioned projects will be subject to their own planning process.

Pot Tending Cranes

As part of our current operations, the cranes we currently use and operate are over 40 years old. We are looking to upgrade these cranes to modern state of the art technology which will help to deliver the quality material for our billet process.

Canning Plant Facility

The project, named “Project Loch” is to construct a 70 Million cans per annum filling factory which will also create employment opportunities in the area.

  • A new custom designed state of the art facility will be built focussing on good design and sustainability.
  • Empty cans and can ends will be brought to site where they will be fed on to a fully automated water filling line where both still and carbonated water can be produced, once filled the cans will be sealed and packaged ready for shipment to the consumers utilising environmentally friendly packaging

Benefits to Lochaber and the wider Fort William area.

  • Benefits include the creation of a number of direct jobs and will also create indirect jobs in the wider Fort William community.

New Office

The staff are currently sited in a temporary portacabin block as the old office block was not fit for purpose anymore. We are now looking to reposition the office block so it is more central to site and will also allow for a bigger parking area and more modern facilities.


We are exploring opportunities around the use of ports for the import and export of raw materials and finished products. No decision has been made yet on which port or ports will be used and we are currently exploring several options.


Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing us or you can complete the feedback form by clicking the button below

Feedback form

ALVANCE would like to thank all the companies below for their contributions to the virtual consultation.

Aartee E&CITPJLLKeppieSystra