Scots turn to the English for some serious sh...

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Plans to import hundreds of lorryloads of English excrement into Scotland to produce "green energy crops" on the site of an old coal mine has put Scottish noses out of joint particularly since Scottish Coal is reported to have claimed - although the company hotly denies it - that English stools are "higher quality" to those produced locally.

Over the next six months a subsidiary of Thames Water is to spread 48,000 tons of "biosolids" (as they are euphemistically described) one metre deep over part of the old Dalquhandy open cast coal mine near the Lanarkshire village of Coalburn insisting that they will help "enhance the appearance and amenity of the area," although the Scottish National Party has called on the importers to "take their crap homewards".

Fast growing willows will be planted on the sewage, which is in the form of dry pellets, and then cropped for fuel.

But local people fear smells and health risks and are furious not to have been consulted in advance. Local GP, Dr Sinclair Scott, said that there was "real concern" in the area and said that the villagers had only learned about the scheme "by chance".

MSPs took up the same themes in a debate on Thursday. Roseanna Cunningham, the SNP environment spokesman, said: "The whole thing stinks," and Chris Ballance a Green MSP held aloft "a properly composted sewage sludge cake" produced in the south of Scotland, extolling its advantages over the imported product.

Scottish Coal and Thames Water, taken aback by the row, spent the end of last week trying to dismiss it as a storm in a lavatory bowl and are now promising to use as much Scottish sewage as possible. They also said that the process was approved by Friends of the Earth.