The proposed waste recycling, recovery and renewable energy facility would process up to 230,000 tonnes of waste per annum, with around 50,000 tonnes being recycled and 180,000 tonnes incinerated to generate electricity and heat. Measuring the proposal against waste strategy and policy, the inspector recorded that processing waste through incineration to generate energy remains part of the government’s national waste strategy and there was a significant shortfall in recovery capacity in the locality.
Meeting an identified need attracted substantial weight in the inspector’s decision. In his view, a condition could be imposed on the development requiring the incinerator design to meet an energy efficiency threshold set by Defra, classifying its use for waste recovery rather than disposal. Having found in favour of the development in principle, he went on to consider the proposal against other development plan policies.
He found no objective justification for the perception of harm to public health from emissions, a major concern expressed by local residents. He judged the design of the plant, incorporating a 95-metres flue stack, to be of a high quality. He noted that it would be seen against a backdrop of commercial and industrial development, preserving the setting and landscape of a national park and AONB. The scheme’s benefits outweighed any adverse impacts and it accorded with the development plan, he concluded.
Inspector: Ian Jenkins; Inquiry