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Anti-incinerator legal action round-up

An update on some of the various activities in relation to the campaigns against incineration in Buckinghamshire, Cardiff, Cheshire, Derby, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire,  Northamptonshire, Surrey and Invergordon are outlined below (Updated 11 January 2013 to add the Invergordon entry and 05 February 2013 to update Surrey entry).


Judicial review claim brought by residents of north Buckinghamshire in October 2012 against Buckinghamshire County Council’s July 2012 decision to grant permission for a 300,000 tpa incinerator proposed at Greatmoor Farm between Calvert, Quainton, Edgcott and Grendon Underwood. The primary case relates to the argument that the County Council failed to take proper account of ecological issues. FCC and their consultants SLR are interested parties.

Separately (but with respect to the same proposed incinerator scheme), a legal action was brought against Natural England in relation to their decision to issue a European Protected Species translocation license that would allow bats and great crested newts to be moved away from the access route. FCC and their consultants SLR are interested parties.


There could be one or more legal actions by CATI (Cardiff Against The Incinerator) in relation to the 350,000 tpa incinerator at Trident Park, Cardiff Bay (near Splott) that was granted planning permission by Cardiff Council in June 2010. It is understood that the issues relate primarily to flood risk, especially in terms of the planning conditions and whether the local authority should take enforcement action for them not being properly discharged as well as how the Council have handled associated consultation.


A legal challenge to the decision by the Government to allow the 600,00 tpa TATA/E-ON Northwich waste incinerator is currently being pursued by the Cheshire Anti-Incineration Network (CHAIN). According to a December 2012 press release, a brief summary of their grounds are as follows:

  1. There is already permitted waste incinerator capacity, such as at Runcorn and Ince Marshes near Frodsham, which far exceeds requirements in Cheshire. (In fact, they will be capable of burning more than 10 times the amount of domestic waste generated in the county);
  2. The negative impacts of the incinerator development on the human rights of local people;
  3. Procedural unfairness in the Planning Inquiry process.


In November 2012 local campaigners lodged a legal challenge with the High Courts of Justice in London against an Inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for a 190,000 tonne incinerator at Sinfin Lane in Derby, and the case could be heard by the court in Manchester as early as February 2013. The decision, which was at odds with the decisions of the planning committee and an Inspector from a previous inquiry, was issued on the 21st of September 2012 for an application which was submitted in May 2009. The primary ground for the challenge is the Inspector’s handling of the disposal/recovery status of the proposal and the defendants are named as the Secretary of State for communities and Local Government, Derby City Council and Resource Recovery Solutions (Derbyshire) Limited.


In November 2012 SWARD (Safety in Waste and Rubbish Disposal) lodged an appeal against Justice Mackie’s October 2012 high court ruling in relation to a challenge against Gloucestershire County Council’s decision to grant a 20 year extension to the planning consent for an incinerator ash site at Wingmoor Farm. SWARD believe the judge erred in his decision regarding the way SWARD’s scientific evidence had been considered by the council.


On the 7th of January 2013 the Information Commisioner’s Office (ICO) decided that Hertfordshire County Council should release Veolia’s WRATE report for a proposed incinerator in New Barnfield, Hatfield in response to a request under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). The ICO decided that the release would not adversely affect intellectual property rights, and that as the majority of the document related to emissions (with the remainder not being commercially sensitive), so Hertfordshire County Council could not rely on the exemptions they were citing. ICO Ref: FER0445318.

Invergordon (added 11 January 2013)

Combined Power and Heat (Highlands) Ltd’s 100-130ktpa incinerator proposed for the Cromarty Firth Industrial Estate in Invergordon (in the Highlands of Scotland) is currently subject to two legal challenges. In January 2013 the Ross Estates Company (owned by former Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed) launched a legal challenge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh against the Scottish Government’s decision to grant planning consent for the Invergordon incinerator. According to the Ross-Shire Journal, the grounds of appeal cite “deficiencies that go to the heart of [the Scottish Government reporter] Mr Dent’s decision, including a failure to take proper account of the impact of the incinerator on road safety at the Tomich junction and a failure to properly assess whether an alternative site for the incinerator might be more appropriate”. At the same time Highland Council also lodged a statutory challenge in the Court of Session against the same decision.


Northamptonshire County Council has until the 18th of January 2013 to respond to a Pre-Action Protocol letter relating to their possible decision to approve a 96,000 tpa incinerator in Desborough (“Magnetic Park Energy Centre”). The primary ground of challenge relates to the Council’s handling of the recovery/disposal status of the proposed facility.

Surrey (updated 05 February 2013)

Spelthorne Borough Council lodged a judicial review against the Environment Agency on the 7th of January 2013. The challenge relates to the Agency’s decision to grant a permit for SITA’s gasification-type incinerator (“Shepperton Eco Park” on Charlton Lane) and covers “concerns relating to the legality of the conditions imposed; whether the Permit satisfies the requirements of EU law; and whether the EA’s approach to the adoption of this novel technology is permissible given experience elsewhere and the requirements of EU law”. It has been reported that the developers are now changing the gasification technology and seeking a new permit variation, and the Borough Council have discontinued their Judicial Review after receiving assurances from Surrey County Council and SITA that the challenged permits will not be relied upon.

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