Work has started to replace a 10-year-old WESP – wet electrostatic precipitator – with a state-of-the-art system.

A new 52m-high chimney, due for completion in July, will disperse steam from drying wood even higher and alleviate any local concerns about it grounding during bad weather.

The Cowie site was one of the first of its type to introduce the WESP technology 10 years ago with a 35m chimney. The new installation will bring the plant to the forefront of emission control measures which will exceed stringent industry standards.

More than £31m has now been invested in environmental protection measures at Cowie since 2000.

Local MP Anne McGuire visited the site to view the new WESP construction and meet senior mnagement to discuss Norbord’s recent decision to close an ageing MDF pressline which had been impacted by a sharp rise in energy costs and the transfer of some capacity to a recently built £50m line elsewhere on the site.

Mrs McGuire said she had been assured that Norbord would continue to be a significant employer in the Sirling area in the future.