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GCC will now look at incinerator alternatives after it agrees to back planning refusal

GCC will now look at incinerator alternatives after it agrees to back planning refusal

12:00pm Saturday 18th May 2013

By Chris Warne

GLOUCESTERSHIRE County Council will defend the decision of its planning committee to refuse permission for the £500 million Javelin Park incinerator project near Haresfield.

The authority’s planning committee unanimously opposed the controversial application in March and at a meeting at Shire Hall on Wednesday (May, 15) it was agreed that a cross-party working group should be established immediately to consider alternatives.

GCC’s Conservative administration signed a 25-year contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty for the plant back in September and the company could still appeal the planning committee’s refusal.

But anti-incineration campaigners from GlosVAIN welcomed GCC’s commitment to support its planning committee in the event of an appeal as a ‘huge step forward’.

Campaigners did express disappointment, however, that the motion tabled by former Lib Dem leader Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm and Wotton) was watered down.

The original wording of Cllr Hilton’s motion had said: “This council recognises that the waste incinerator project no longer has the support of this council following the outcome of the county council elections.”

And it added: “Mechanical Biological Treatment may be a suitable technology as an alternative to burning household waste.”

Labour leader Lesley Williams (Stonehouse) subsequently proposed an amended motion, omitting the reference to MBT and the outcome of the elections, which Conservative leader Mark Hawthorne (Quedgeley) said his party was prepared to back.

The revised motion, which was passed unanimously, called on the authority’s chief executive to “seek robust support to defend the unanimous planning committee decision in any appeal process that may take place in the future.”

It also said: “This Council should immediately establish a ‘Plan B’ cross-party working group to consider alternatives to the current proposals for a waste incinerator at Javelin Park.”

Sue Oppenheimer, chairman of GlosVAIN, said: “We are very pleased that there was enormous support to look again at options for waste and we hope that GCC will also approach UBB to assess whether they are prepared to look at other options which we understand the contract allows them to do.”

Speaking after the meeting Green Party Cllr Sarah Lunnon (Stroud Central) praised the new minority Conservative administration for seeking ‘to find a solution based on consensus rather than strong-arm tactics’.


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