Elizabeth Finnis explained that Surrey is a two-tier authority, with 11 WCA’s and Surrey County Council (SCC) as the WDA. In 1999 Surrey Waste Management/SITA was awarded a 25 year contract for the disposal of Surrey’s municipal waste, this contract being backed by an £85.5m PFI. GAIN was formed in 2000 following a speculative incinerator application made by Thames Water at a site in Guildford. At about the same time SWM/SITA put in applications for incinerators in Capel and Redhill. SCC turned down the applications for Guildford and Redhill in December 2001. The Capel application was passed by the County but was thrown out at judicial review in 2002.
In 2004 SCC reiterated its view that incineration was the best option for the disposal of residual waste and this was carried through in the various ‘waste’ plans produced subsequently. GAIN has tried over the years to change this policy to one based on source separation of recyclables, biological treatment and stabilisation of waste. Last year GAIN participated in the Examination in Public of the Surrey Waste Plan, (the DPD). In Surrey’s case, it is clear that the Inspectors took the view that a DPD is primarily a land-use document, their chief concern being to ensure that the authority has provided enough land to meet their obligations to deal with waste arisings over the period of the Plan.
SWM/SITA did not even wait for the Inspectors’ report to be made public before submitting a planning application for an incinerator at the same Capel site as previously (110,000 tonnes). Last month our Executive opened the door for a second application at Trumps Farm near Virginia Water, we expect this shortly (160,000 tonnes).
The Habitats Directive can be a useful piece of legislation, since incinerators damage sensitive habitats. SCC sought to take sites out of the Plan because of this but the Inspectors’ Report retained them. They accepted the argument, put by the land owner’s barristers, that ERM modeling showing damage was flawed because it was based on a medium to large EfW facility (240,000 tonnes). They submitted that a smaller facility, perhaps of another thermal technology, that might be provided without compromising local protected habitats. Visit http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/sccwebsite/sccwspages.nsf/LookupWebPagesByTITLE_RTF/Surrey+Waste+Plan+-+Habitat+Directive+Assessment?opendocument
also visit GAIN’s website at http://www.no-incinerator.org.uk