Central Bedfordshire Council has written to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to formally oppose Covanta Energy’s plans for a Resource Recovery Facility at Rookery South Pit near Stewartby.
Although the Council is not responsible for making the final decision about the facility, it is ‘statutory consultees’ for the proposed development and as such has a duty to the community and to the environment to ensure that the proposal is robustly examined and challenged and that the communities affected are widely consulted and their views taken into account in the decision making process.
In August the IPC accepted for examination purposes, Covanta’s planning submission, but the public and interested parties were given until November to make sure that their initial views were heard.
At that time the Council submitted its objections to the proposal with the two main issues being:
* that the size and bulk of the proposed facility will adversely impact on the amenity of local residents and on the highway network near the site and in other parts of the authority area; and
* the size of the proposed facility means it would need to source waste from a much greater area than Bedfordshire and this goes against national and local planning policy to handle waste sustainably by using the nearest appropriate facility and to make provision for local waste disposal requirements.
The Council also maintain that the adverse impacts of the proposal far outweigh the positive benefits and on this basis the IPC will be required by National Planning Statement (NPS-1) to refuse the application for Development Consent.
Following a preliminary meeting on 17 January the Commissioners gave the Council six weeks to submit their detailed comments setting out their concerns about the proposal and this was done on 28 February.
At the same time the Council submitted a Local Impact Report which sets out the positive and negative impacts of the proposal on the area and also picks up matters that Covanta may have missed in their submission or not given enough consideration to.
Cllr Tom Nicols, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Development at Central Bedfordshire Council said: “We submitted our initial concerns back in November and now three and a half months later we are still not convinced that this proposal is appropriate for Central Bedfordshire.
“We have thought long and very hard about the Covanta proposal and officers have worked meticulously through the application, addressing every detail and presenting our case to the IPC and I hope that the IPC take on board these comments as they progress with this application. I also expect them to fully justify their decision to residents in Central Bedfordshire if they do decide to grant permission.”