Pickles to appeal Cornish waste plant ruling

The communities secretary is to launch an appeal against a recent High Court ruling that quashed the government's decision to grant planning permission for an energy from waste plant in the Cornish countryside.

Last month, High Court judge Mr Justice Collins ordered Eric Pickles to reconsider the decision to approve developer SITA UK’s plans for the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre on land at St Dennis.

The judge ruled that Pickles and his planning inspector had failed to meet a "legitimate expectation" that they would consider whether an "Appropriate Assessment" was necessary under the Habitats Regulations and EU Habitats Directive to consider the potential impacts of noise, dust and other emissions from the incinerator on the surrounding area.

The judge backed a claim – made by campaign group the Cornwall Waste Forum St Dennis Branch – that the inspector, whose decision was followed by the secretary of state, was wrong to leave the question of an Appropriate Assessment to the Environment Agency, which had already announced its stance that the incinerator would have no significant environmental effects.

He found that the inspector failed to deal with the objectors’ challenge to the EA’s stance, which they claim is "legally flawed" and insufficient to meet the requirements of the Directive.

But the communities secretary will now challenge the ruling.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman confirmed that Pickles would be "lodging an appeal against the decision at the Court of Appeal".

In a statement, SITA UK said: "SITA UK welcomes today’s announcement that the secretary of state will appeal the recent High Court judgement that withdrew planning permission for the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre.

"We hope that the appeal will be heard as quickly as possible, as the people of Cornwall need clarity over the way their waste problem will be managed."

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