News just in from Ardley Against the Incinerator (AAI) who have today announced that they have turned to the courts to challenge the Secretary of State’s on 17th February 2011 decision to allow Viridor Waste Management to construct a 300,000 tonnes per year incinerator at Ardley Fields Farm.

The Statutory Appeal was lodged with the Administrative Court at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday afternoon (30th March 2011).

The original planning application from Viridor Waste Management, refused by Oxfordshire County Council’s Planning Committee in October 2009, was subject to a Public Inquiry in July 2010. The Secretary of State’s decision supports the recommendation of the Planning Inspector following the Public Inquiry.

Jonathan O’Neill Chair of Ardley Against Incinerator said:

We have always believed, with good reason and evidence, that the granting of planning permission to develop a 300,000 tonne incinerator on the Ardley Fields Farm site is wrong. After a thorough review by, and detailed guidance from, legal counsel we believe that there is a significant point of law on which the Statutory Appeal is based.

Once received the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, has 21 days to respond to the challenge. It is expected that the Statutory Appeal will be heard in the High Court, sometime in the Autumn.

The Oxford Mail is reporting that:

Ardley Against the Incinerator has applied for the High Court to overturn the decision by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, saying his decision-making process was flawed.

Owen Morton, spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council, which granted waste management firm Viridor permission to build the facility at a site near Bicester following a long series of legal and planning wrangles, is reported as saying:

We are aware that a legal challenge has been made to the Secretary of State’s recent appeal decision. This will be a matter for the High Court to determine.

No-one was available at the Department of Local Government and Communities for comment as the Oxford Mail went to press.

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