Waste processing expansion harms green belt

The provision of a new recycling building at a site in the Surrey green belt would compromise the openness of the area, an inspector has held, rejecting claims by the company that very special circumstances had been demonstrated.

400-005-297 (Image Credit: Surrey County Council)
400-005-297 (Image Credit: Surrey County Council)

The site operated as a long-established waste transfer and recycling facility and included a building for recycling construction waste. The proposed building would replace the existing waste reception and tipping hall which would be used primarily for sorting non-construction waste. At 43 metres in length, 31 metres in width and 11 metres high the building would be a substantial addition to built development on the site, the inspector held. Despite being sited within the existing developed site which was enclosed by tall landscaped bunds, it would reduce the openness of the green belt and was therefore inappropriate.

In respect of the potential benefits the inspector accepted that it would enable the site to process non-construction waste which was currently being processed in the open, reducing noise, dust and odour. It would improve the efficiency of the business and create a more sustainable operation by improving recycling and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. But the appellant’s assessment of whether the operations could be relocated onto an alternative site outside the green belt was less than robust particularly since a significant proportion of waste handled on site came from outside the county, particularly from some south London boroughs. Thus she could not conclude that a more suitable site outside the green belt was not available.

Inspector: Christina Downes; Written representations

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