Wildlife fears over incinerator plans

I am so busy with the inquiry and sorting through the information released by Nottinghamshire County Council following last week’s High Court decision (see “People power” victory and Revealed: What Veolia wanted to keep secret and the Nottingham Evening Post editorial: Ruling upholds our democratic right that I am breaking with tradition and reprinting an article from another website:

Wildlife fears over incinerator plans

Published Date: 06 October 2009
By Helen Lambourne

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a waste incinerator in Rainworth could be halted if the site is made a protection area for nightjars and woodlarks, it has emerged. A public inquiry into proposals by Veolia Environmental Services for the incinerator at the former Rufford Colliery got under way yesterday, held by Government-appointed inspector Rupert Grantham.

But immediately, a three-month adjournment on the ecological issues due to be considered was called for by Veolia –– saying it was seeking information from Natural England about whether the site might be designated a Special Protection Area (SPA).

The move could lead the inspector to put the whole inquiry on hold after it emerged the status could be a ‘showstopper’ for plans to build the incinerator on that site.

Paul Brown, representing Nottinghamshire County Council, told the inquiry the authority could change its support for the incinerator if the site was made an SPA.

He said: “If it transpires the SPA is a showstopper, everything we do in the next two or three weeks could be a complete waste of time.
“It would be a very difficult hurdle to overcome. The county council would have to review its position.”

Rhodri Price Lewis, for Veolia, said the company had been trying to gain answers from Natural England about whether the SPA was being considered for the last three weeks, but had got no answer.

But he said the public body had no remaining objections to the incinerator plans.

Janice Bradley, of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, said the organisation had raised concerns about the impact of the incinerator on nightjars for a long time.

She said a recent ruling had found an area should be treated as a potential SPA if data about the birds there would qualify it — even if Natural England had not classified it as such.

Shlomo Dowen, from campaign group People Against Incineration (PAIN), said he had spoken to a representative from Natural England yesterday.

He told the inspector: “The first thing that was made clear was that you as inspector have the authority and should you decide that the site could qualify as an SPA, then Natural England would of course object to the application.”

Mr Grantham adjourned the inquiry yesterday until tomorrow (Thursday) morning while the parties try to gain the written views of Natural England.

He will then decide whether some or all of the hearing should be adjourned for three months.

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