There was a marvellous turn out in Westminster on Thursday, March 8th of local residents, Councillors from across Central Beds and Bedford Borough as well as local MP Nadine Dorries.
In the packed Thatcher Committee Room legal argument sallied back and forth on highly technical points of law and fundamental matters of how people impacted by major infrastructure projects can have their objections heard. The Planning Act 2008, the Statutory Orders Act of 1945 and precedents from 1886, 1922 and 1999 were cited by all parties as to whether those present had an interest in land which was ‘specially and injuriously affected’. Effectively Covanta and the Department for Energy and Climate Change argued local people and their representatives had either no further right to be heard or if they did on very restricted grounds which should not include revisiting the arguments against the Covanta proposal. Sue Clark, Central Bedfordshire Councillor for Marston Ward and on behalf of all 25 Town and Parish Councils gave a very cogent resume of our concerns that the Covanta proposal will blight the Marston Vale and beyond.
Presiding over the proceedings were Lindsay Hoyle MP on behalf of the House of Commons and Lord Brabazon of Tara on behalf of the House of Lords. They will reflect on the arguments and decide shortly.
There is a small chance they will allow us to proceed to the next stage in that there is a democratic deficit, the IPC is being abolished and we will have to live with their only decision. Right at the end WRG (another major waste management company) introduced arguments against Covanta around European Directives and competition law which may lead to further investigation.
For now we must wait and see the relative importance which the parliamentary authorities give to either very arcane points of law or the rights of people to be heard.