Stroud District Council (SDC) has lost its legal appeal in the High Court against the building of the waste incinerator at Javelin Park, in Gloucestershire.
No further legal action will be taken on the matter, but SDC is reported to have asked Gloucestershire County Council to think carefully about whether it does still want to go ahead with the project.
Earlier this year the then Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, overruled the decision to refuse planning permission for an energy from waste facility at Javelin Park. Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) had been awarded a contract to design and build the facility at Javelin Park in February 2013, but the planning committee refused planning permission for the facility and UBB appealed and the decision was overturned.
This latest decision on the facility, which will treat 150,000 tonnes of waste per annum, should now see construction begin.
In a statement Councillor Geoff Wheeler, leader of Stroud District Council, said: “We put forward a robust case, throughout the proceedings, to demonstrate the adverse impact that the proposed waste incinerator would have on the district. The argument was quite technical, with the court ultimately concluding that it was legitimate for the Secretary of State to interpret the waste plan for Gloucestershire as he did, and consequently give approval for the incinerator. Our challenge hinged on this aspect, something which the county council also concurred with at the time of the original planning appeal.
Whilst we are extremely disappointed, we still hope that the county council will take a final look at alternatives to the project. Just because it has planning permission, it doesn’t mean that it has to be built. The case against adding more incineration capacity in the UK has become stronger and stronger, and Stroud District Council political leaders would welcome a meeting with the county council to discuss better alternative methods of waste treatment. The county council’s own ‘Option B’ group even accepted, as recently as November 2014, that if they were starting from scratch, they would not consider the current UBB proposal. This is not just an issue about planning permission but a matter of not buying what is set to become a white elephant, or as the design of the incinerator reflects, a green armadillo!”
In rsponse, and as reported in the local press, county councillor Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We’re delighted by this result. The facility won’t just save taxpayers £150m, it will also save over 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year, whilst helping us to dispose of Gloucestershire’s waste that can’t be recycled cleanly and safely.
“This decision is good news for Gloucestershire County Council, good news for Gloucestershire’s taxpayers and good news for Gloucestershire’s environment. Our aim is to reach 70 per cent recycling across the county and stop burying our waste in the ground completely. This new facility, as well as using anaerobic digestion to treat our food waste and recycling more, takes us a huge step closer.”