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Plymouth campaigners begin legal fight

The following press release was sent by campaigners in Plymouth regarding their challenge against the grant of planning permission for the incinerator proposed for North Yard, Devonport Naval Services, Plymouth:

PlymWIN – PRESS RELEASE – Immediate Release – 9 AM – 19 March 2012


Local residents in Plymouth have today begun a legal fight against the incinerator starting the first stage of a Judicial Review process against Plymouth City Council. They are arguing that the decision to grant planning permission for the incinerator was “unlawful”.

Lawyers representing PlymWIN, which is an offshoot of the anti-incinerator campaign group IIW (Incineration Is Wrong), sent a “Letter Before Claim” to the council at 9AM this morning, giving them 14 days to respond to their concerns.

The letter is the first step of the Judicial Review process. If the Council does not answer the residents’ concerns, then PlymWIN will take the Council to court for a full Judicial Review hearing. The residents will also be seeking an injunction to stop the works on the site, pending the outcome of the Judicial Review.

The letter argues that on two significant points the planning permission was flawed:
– It breaches the EU Habitats Directive for failing to undertake the correct Appropriate Assessment for a project that is likely to have a significant effect on sites of an European site of importance;
– The Council has adopted an “unlawful approach” to Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA), the ash that is left as waste at the bottom of the incinerator. The IBA is currently proposed to be transported to Whitecleave Quarry in Buckfastleigh. However, the legal case argues that the Council is “wrong under EU law in its understanding of the treatment of IBA and its understanding that the IBA could and would be recycled”.

The local residents are being represented by Britain’s leading environmental campaigning law firm, Leigh Day, which has a reputation for wining Judicial Review cases and is currently working with residents in Cornwall against the incinerator at St. Dennis.
PlymWIN spokesperson, Lynne Hayden said: “Our message to the people of Plymouth is the fight against this incinerator is not over. We have long said that the planning permission was flawed, but the council did not listen to our concerns, so we have to fight them in the courts. And we are confident we will win.”

Hayden added that PlymWIN will be asking the public for donations towards legal costs which will be required to take the case forward in the courts.

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