Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council have been granted permission to fully petition Members of Parliament about Covanta Energy’s plans for a Resource Recovery Facility at Rookery South Pit near Stewartby.
The Chairman of a specially convened Parliamentary Committee, Mr Brian Binley, has announced that the Committee will be hearing petitions in full. This means that both Councils will now be able to argue their case against all aspects of the plan when the Committee meets in the autumn, rather than a more limited range of issues that Covanta had argued for.
Cllr Nigel Young, executive member for sustainable communities at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “This is a victory for democracy and common sense. It is absolutely right that this Council should be able to put a full case to the Parliamentary Committee and we shall do so vigorously!”
The Councils had previously submitted its objections to the proposal with the two main issues being:
- 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.
Local ward member, Cllr Sue Clark, said: “We look forward to making this case to the Committee. Whilst the final decision about this proposal is at a national level, it is absolutely right that the authorities, who have a duty to represent their communities, are given the opportunity to fully engage in the process which will ultimately determine whether or not the facility is granted permission. The combined efforts of local councillors and the MP have ensured that local people's legitimate concerns are addressed.”
The Councils 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 Statements to refuse the application for Development Consent.
The next stage in the process is for a hearing of the Parliamentary Committee of both Houses for consideration of issues raised by both Councils. The date for the first day of the Committee Hearing is on October 24.