Waste decision sent back on fallback interpretation

Plans for a materials recycling facility in Wiltshire have been sent back to the secretary of state for redetermination after he accepted that an inspector had erred in considering possible fallback positions available to the appellants.

The case centred on the operations of a family-owned waste management company which had a household waste collection contract with the county council. In 2014, the company applied for permission to retain and extend its waste transfer and recycling facility in order to service the contract. Permission was refused, but on appeal the inspector granted permission after requesting updated information on certain environmental impacts.

The company had put forward various "fallback" options which it claimed would have the same or greater impact as the appeal scheme. The claimants argued that the inspector had misinterpreted and misunderstood the planning position in relation to two areas of land on which recycling occurred. On that basis, they argued, the baseline position in the appellants’ updated environmental statement was flawed because it overstated what was lawfully permitted and should have been disregarded by the inspector.

In the High Court, Sir Ross Cranston accepted the secretary of state’s position that the inspector had failed to adequately grapple with the scope of the consents affecting the two areas and, in particular, whether intensification of waste recycling on the sites would trigger a material change of use of the land. The judge noted that the issue was compounded by the absence of a condition on one of the planning permissions, which failed to specifically limit the amount of waste that could be processed.

Wiltshire Waste Alliance Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Hills Waste Solutions Ltd

Date: 10 May 2018

Ref: [2018] EWHC 1110 Admin)


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