The SITA incinerator: Cornwall Waste Forum calls for 'immediate talks' with Cornwall Council
The St Dennis branch of the Cornwall Waste Forum has called on Cornwall Council for immediate talks to explore alternatives to the proposed incinerator, following their successful High Court action.
'We have a rare window of opportunity to build bridges with Cornwall Council' said Ken Rickard, the Forum chair. 'Our success in the High Court, where Lord Justice Collins was unequivocal in his finding for the Forum, means that there will now be a breathing space. This is the time to take stock and consider the best way forward for Cornwall.'
The Forum has long disputed Cornwall Council's case that there is no alternative to incineration. Indeed Cornwall Council itself was of the same view when it fought SITA's appeal last year. Current trends and new technology both point to opportunities for investment in Cornwall, with new jobs and businesses to support them. 'The most impressive change in the last few years is that recycling has become a profitable business, the amount of waste being generated is declining year on year, and we can now reduce dramatically the amount of waste going to landfill,' added Mr Rickard. 'There is a real opportunity for Cornwall to be at the forefront of new waste disposal technology involving the county's engineering talent. We don't need an incinerator.'
The Waste Forum's appeal comes after it successfully challenged the decision by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to allow an Appeal by SITA to build a 240,000tpa. incinerator at St Dennis. The challenge was heard in the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London. The Forum was represented by Barrister David Wolfe supported by his Leigh Day and Co colleagues and our solicitor Mr C Hopkins. The hearing was attended by ten members from Cornwall and one from London. The judgement was given on 13 October and the written Judgement will be released this Thursday 20 October.
The challenge was based on the threat the incinerator would pose to nearby EU designated "Special Areas of Conservation". The Judge backed the Forums's claim that the inspector, whose decision was followed by the Secretary of State, was wrong to leave the question of an Appropriate Assessment to the Environment Agency, which had already announced its stance that the incinerator would have no significant environmental effects.
The Judge ordered the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to reconsider the decision and he did give the Secretary of State permission to challenge his decision at the Court of Appeal.
Whereas the Forum members are delighted with this decision they are aware of the self inflicted problems which now face Cornwall Council, and are committed to work with the Council and have taken the positive step of inviting the Cabinet portfolio holder for Waste and the Environment and some of his Waste Development Advisory Panel councillors to a meeting to discuss the way forward.
It must be emphasised that Cornwall Council had the opportunity to cancel the controversial and costly Waste contract with French Company SITA in 2010. This contract has continually been blamed as the reason for the pursuance of incineration as the technology to disposal of Cornwall's waste.
Chair of Cornwall Waste Forum St.Dennis Branch.