The latest evidence submitted to the Public Inquiry by would-be Sherwood Forest Incinerator operators Veolia has failed to convince the competent authority, Natural England, that the proposed 180,000 tonne per annum waste incinerator would not contribute to severe adverse effects on the Important Bird Area that overlaps with Veolia’s chosen site (see map link below).

Natural England called for planning authorities to adopt a “risk-based approach” to the Sherwood Forest site, currently under consideration for Special Protection Area status due to the presence of a significant population of woodlark and nightjar.

The public inquiry, which began in October 2009, was adjourned on three occasions to address the issues arising from the Habitat Regulations. Veolia were twice given months to prepare a shadow appropriate assessment, and twice Veolia have failed to submit evidence that ruled out severe adverse effects upon the integrity of the potential Special Protection Area, as defined by the existing Important Bird Area.

People Against Incineration (PAIN), who have consistently argued that Veolia’s proposals are for the wrong technology on the wrong site, has taken full advantage of the delays to submit further evidence demonstrating that a facility of the sized and nature of that proposed is simply not required to sustainably manage the County’s shrinking quantities of residual waste.

PAIN’s Honorary Chairman, Bernard Thompson, says:

The community has great faith in the Planning Inspector to arrive at the right conclusion. We remain confident that the new Secretary of State will decide to defy Veolia’s wishes, and instead secure this important site for the heathland restoration we were promised years ago.

PAIN strongly agrees with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Janice Bradley, when she says:

Had this incinerator and the Business Park not been proposed, the [site] might now be fully restored, thus creating the vital habitat link between the heathland SSSIs and the wider forested landscape, within which, open habitat restoration to heathland has also been achieved.

In separate evidence submitted by Natural England they conclude that:

Based on the information now available…Natural England cannot rule out the possibility of a likely significant effect occurring from the ERF in combination with a number of other plans and projects. Furthermore, we consider that the effect of habitat loss from within the IBA alone is likely to be significant in this scenario.

Newark and Sherwood District Council, who also oppose Veolia’s application, submitted fresh evidence to show that the site “should be prioritised for wildlife and recreation”. According to their evidence:

The Western Area Strategy…indicates that the application site would fall within an area of Biodiversity Protection and Enhancement, an Action Area and an area of Tourism Support. The strategy refers to the potential around Rainworth to increase habitat creation to create a corridor of semi-natural habitats stretching from Sherwood through to Burnstump Country Park on the northern edge of Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s latest evidence recognises that:

If these circumstances had prevailed in January 2009, when the application was reported to the Planning and Licensing Committee, [as] the Waste Planning Authority [the County Council’s Planning Officer] would have sought further information.

The County’s evidence states that:

Whether or not there is any legal requirement to do so, the [County Council] considers it would be inappropriate to grant permission unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that, if an SPA is designated, the ERF would not have any significant adverse effects upon its integrity.

The public inquiry into Veolia’s proposals for a Sherwood Forest Incinerator will resume on Tuesday 28th September at the Rainworth Village Hall in Nottinghamshire. The inquiry is set to finish with closing submissions on Tuesday 26th October, although a decision is not expected before the Spring of 2011.

On Wednesday evening 6th October 2010 Rainworth residents will be given the opportunity to speak directly to the Planning Inspector, Mr Rupert Grantham. Many residents have already booked their place, and a petition signed more than 2,300 people will be submitted calling for:

the former Rufford Colliery car park (Rainworth) and the larger UK Coal site to be restored to heathland and woodland and included in the Greenwood Community Forest (in accordance with the 1995 restoration conditions) and any emerging Sherwood Forest Regional Park.

Click here to see a map that is part of the evidence submitted by Veolia showing the overlap between the woodlark territory and the application site. This map is in the public domain as one of numerous inquiry documents, many of which are available via the Inquiry website.

2 Responses to “Veolia fails to convince in Nottinghamshire”

  1. Its a shame in the case of the proposal for a waste incineration plant in Derby currently going through appeal that Natural England and Derbyshire Wildlife trust were not stronger. Protected common lizards will have to live on a small section of the site if planning is given the go ahead.
    I wish everyone success in this battle.

  2. This level of involvement by the Notts Wildlife Trust is unprecedented, and is the result of many factors – not least the location of the site in the middle of what looks set to be designated a Special Protection Area for woodlark and nightjar. The Nottinghamshire site is home to common lizards too, but these are in the process of being translocated (although Veolia have so far failed to catch ’em, as their enclosure blew down in the wind, just in time for the Planning Inspector’s site visit!).

    Natural England originally objected outright to Veolia’s application. NE withdrew their objection but remain sceptical of the suitability of the site, earmarked for inclusion in the emerging Sherwood Forest Regional Park, for a waste incinerator.

    Still, it is disappointing that the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust did not even refer to the lizards in their Pye Bridge consultation response – I cannot understand that oversight…It certainly makes it much more difficult to argue that the application should be refused on nature conservation grounds.

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