OBJECTION TO PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF AN ENERGY FROM WASTE FACILITY (MASS BURN INCINERATOR) ON LAND AT H600 HARTLEBURY TRADING ESTATE, HARTLEBURY, WORCESTERSHIRE Planning Application No: 10/000032 Registered Office: Station House, Station Road, Hartlebury, Worcestershire, DY10 4HA. Registered in England No: 7171644. WAIL is a trading style of WAIL Ltd 1 WAIL Ltd. CONTENTS: Foreword Part 1 - Planning Application Forms, Certificates and Notices - Response Part 2 - Design & Access Statement - Response Part 3 - Planning Statement - Response Part 4 - Technical Report - Response to Environmental Statement Part 5 - Summary Appendices 1. Wychavon District Local Plan 2006 2. Appeal Decision of the Planning Enquiry of the Planning Application for the British Sugar Site, Stourport Road, Kidderminster dated 10.07.2002 3. Planning & Regulatory Committee Report for the Estech Planning Application dated 14.12.2004 4. DEFRA Report 2010 5. Letters with objections on Restrictive Covenant grounds from WAIL to County Council 6. Photographs showing surrounding residential properties 7. Photographs showing Hartlebury and Elmley Lovett in the Green Belt 8. Website Petition as of July 26, 2010 (Paper petition to be supplied under separate cover) 9. Myths and Facts 10. Statement by the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron, in the House of Commons on the 30th June 2010 - Extract from Hansard 2 WAIL Ltd. Foreword Proposed Development of an Energy from Waste Facility (Mass Burn Incinerator) on land at H600 Hartlebury Trading Estate, Hartlebury, Worcestershire. We would refer to the above application for planning permission. W.A.I.L Limited is an official consultee in the planning process relating to this application and is a Group, representing residents in Hartlebury, Elmley Lovett and the surrounding areas, set up to object to this application following an initial public meeting in January 2010 attended by over 400 residents, representatives of the local Parish Councils and Mr. Peter Luff, MP. We object to this application for the proposed development of an incinerator (described by the applicant as an EnviRecover facility) which is inappropriate, as admitted by the applicant in their planning statement, being of an enormous and disproportionate size and scale, contrary to the Wychavon District Local Plan adopted in June 2006 and the existing planning restrictions relating to Hartlebury Trading Estate which is a major developed site in the Green Belt; furthermore, the applicant has not demonstrated “very special circumstances” to justify this development in the Green Belt, as is otherwise contended by the applicant in this application. We set out our objections and comments to this application in these our submissions using, where appropriate, the same headings, paragraphs and clause numbers as set out in the planning application for ease of reference purposes. As the applicant has clearly had a considerable amount of time to prepare this application, together with the substantial amount of the documents supporting this application and, bearing in mind that this application was only submitted and available for public scrutiny in May 2010, we submit that, notwithstanding the agreed extension to the consultation period by a further six weeks, this may not allow sufficient time for proper consultation by other interested parties including the public at large. We reserve the right to raise further submissions should the opportunity to do so arise during this present process. 3 WAIL Ltd. Part 1 Planning Application Forms, Certificates and Notices - Response The applicant refers to the proposed development as the Mercia EnviRecover Facility – this is, in fact, a Mass Burn Incinerator and should be acknowledged and accepted as such by all concerned. Our objections to this proposal are mainly set out in Part 3 Planning Statement together with our Technical Report in Part 4 which deal with the applicant’s comments regarding the “Proposed Activities Processes in Machinery” referred to at the end of the planning application form. With regard to the planning application form, we would comment, using the numbering in the application, as follows:- 12. The proposed connection to the private Hartlebury Trading Estate drainage system may well be insufficient for this proposed plant. 13. Having regard to the problems experienced on this Estate with lying water / leachate on the adjoining Waresley landfill, this proposed development could further exacerbate these problems and have an adverse effect on the water table and water courses which run in through or under the Trading Estate. 15. This is vacant land which has not been developed previously and is an open space which forms a buffer between the Trading Estate and nearby residential properties. 16. Trees have been removed which were the subject of a Tree Preservation Order. 17. The Incinerator Bottom Ash (n43000tpa) is to be recycled off site, which will cause further movement of heavy goods vehicles and transport problems. 21. The proposed opening hours are as follows:- Waste Treatment - 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, every day of the year Heavy Goods Vehicle deliveries – 06.00 to 19.00, 7 days per week, every day of the year This is totally unreasonable and unacceptable, and will inevitably cause substantial noise, nuisance, disturbance and annoyance to members of the public and the surrounding residential properties. No planning conditions and / or any attempted mitigation by the applicant can avoid this. 4 WAIL Ltd. Part 2 Design and Access Statement - Response Our objections to this proposal are mainly set out in Part 3 Planning Statement and our Technical Report in Part 4. With regard to this Section, we would comment using the numbering of the applicant, as follows:- 3. Context Page 6 – the applicant admits that the site is in the Green Belt and the surrounding area is predominately rural. Page 7 – the height of the proposed building is 35 metres above ground level i.e. 83.5 metres above ordnance datum (AOD). The existing Waresley landfill is 65 metres AOD i.e. 17 metres above ground level. The proposed building would be twice as high as the existing landfill and at least 3 times as high as the existing buildings on this Trading Estate. How can this not impact on the visual receptors and the visual amenity and openness of the Green Belt where the skyline would be dominated by this proposed building ? 5. Design 5.1 Site Context – the applicant states that “The aim has been to produce a building design which sits comfortably within the landscape”. This defies belief and is total nonsense. Visual Impact – no amount of architectural design can mitigate the sheer size and scale of this proposed enormous power station-sized plant and huge chimney stack. Site Layout – the applicant states that an effective “attractive” layout has been achieved. How can any development of this size and scale be attractive, especially in the Green Belt in a predominately rural area? 5.2 Design Development – no amount of architectural design, landscaping or planting can mitigate the sheer size and scale of this proposed enormous power station-sized plant and huge chimney stack. The proposed air-cooled condensers will be very noisy and adversely affect the sensitive noise receptors, especially the nearby residential properties, with these proposed to be operated 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, every day of the year. The plans show that these would be located nearest to the residential development at New House Farm in Walton Road, Elmley Lovett and other nearby properties surrounding the Trading Estate. Photographs provided by the applicant– in many cases, these photographs are not close-ups and only show the proposed buildings and chimney stack some considerable distance away with the actual location or prospective view not being shown; this is entirely misleading. Of the photographs supplied by the applicant, we would specifically draw attention to the following photographs which do give some indication as to the size of the problem: 5 WAIL Ltd. Figure 12 page 17 - East-West and North-South – rectangular design. Figure 18 page 21 Figure 22 page 26 – the proposed building and chimney stack dwarf the existing buildings on the Trading Estate. Figure 27 page 32 We have attached our own photographs in the Appendices to these our objections to support our submissions. 6 WAIL Ltd. Part 3 Planning Statement - Response EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND KEY MESSAGES 1. It is noted that this proposal was intended to be a combined heat and power facility, not an inefficient power only plant, yet the heat facility is no longer included in the justification. 2. The need for such a facility has not “long been recognised”; technology has changed since the long term contract with Mercia Waste Management was secured in 1998 and the Waste Core Strategy has not been finalised. 3. The people of Worcestershire & Herefordshire would wish to take responsibility for their own waste by way of recycling, anaerobic digestion and other preferred emerging technologies towards Zero Waste. 4. The Options Appraisals are flawed; consideration has not been given to anaerobic digestion with increased front end recycling for example. Further the alternatives that were considered were not treated on an equal basis with the applicant’s preferred solution. These flaws are dealt with in the Technical Report in Part 4 of our objections. Any appraisal by Mercia Waste Management would inevitably support disposal by incineration for Mercia’s own commercial benefit. 5. With regard to the generation of electricity, this proposal should have been for combined heat and power and the present proposal does not accord with modern technology. 6. The applicant states that this “is the only suitable and available site” ; it may be available but is totally unsuitable because of the following:- a. It is in the Green Belt b. It will be in breach of the Wychavon District Local Plan c. It will considerably exceed the height and footprint laid down by the Green Belt restrictions of this major developed site. d. It is contrary to the National Strategy for waste proposed by the present Coalition Government. e. Hartlebury Trading Estate was not envisaged as an industrial estate; planning was hard won on the basis that this should be a Trading Estate and was not intended for heavy industry. f. It will also be in breach of the Restrictive Covenants imposed in 1980 when the site was sold by the Secretary of State for Defence for the original development of the Hartlebury Trading Estate. These covenants were imposed in the Conveyance dated 10th September 1980 and made between (1) The Secretary of State for Defence and (2) Lansdown Estates (Hartlebury) Limited and were entered into to protect certain properties and surrounding land. They are binding and enforceable against Worcestershire County Council, as the owners of the land, under its existing 999 year lease, the freehold owners, and the other owners/occupiers for the time being on this Trading Estate. 7 WAIL Ltd. 7. The site is located on the extreme northern edge of Worcestershire and a considerable distance away from Herefordshire. This clearly cannot be a suitable location, with heavy goods vehicles having to travel considerable distances across both counties, and will inevitably have an adverse effect on the carbon footprint as highlighted in our attached Technical Report. 8. This is not a large industrial estate; there is no other industrial process apart from the existing Wienerberger Brickworks, which is an individual operation subject to special conditions needing proximity to land available for clay extraction. No amount of mitigation can reduce the size and scale of the proposed building and stack which, if constructed, will totally dominate this Green Belt area with its rural surroundings and villages and will adversely impact on the visual amenity for everyone who has chosen to live in this part of the Worcestershire countryside. 9. Whatever assessments have been made by or on behalf of the applicant, it is totally unrealistic to assume that a development of this size and scale will not have a substantially adverse impact on the area. 10. For any such development in the Green Belt, it is acknowledged by the applicant that it will be necessary to demonstrate that “very special circumstances exist for the granting of planning permission to be justified”. We do not accept the conclusions made by the applicant as assessed in the Planning Statement and our comprehensive response to these conclusions is set out in our Section 4 relating to this Planning Statement. 11. If it is acknowledged that the application site already benefits from a planning permission for the development of five industrial units, then any such units, if they were to come forward in accordance with this planning permission would be a substantially lesser development and the height and footprint of any such buildings would also be considerably less. In practice, notwithstanding the planning permission in 1999, any modifications to bring the application up to date would inevitably be the subject of a new planning application which would have to be construed within the existing Wychavon District Local Plan adopted in 2006. This site has never been developed before. 12. We do not accept that the applicant has demonstrated that the scheme meets the test of Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act as we have outlined in our response to Section 4 of the Planning Statement. 13. We do not accept that the assessment of relevant material considerations has not revealed any justification for determining this application other than in accordance with the development plan. The application contravenes the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006 and the Green Belt restrictions for this major developed site. It will also be in breach of the Restrictive Covenants imposed in 1980 when the site was sold by the Secretary of State for Defence for the original development of the Hartlebury Trading Estate. These covenants were imposed in the Conveyance dated 10th September 1980 and made between (1) The Secretary of State for Defence and (2) Lansdown Estates (Hartlebury) Limited and were entered into to protect certain properties and surrounding land. They are binding and enforceable against Worcestershire County Council, as the owners of 8 WAIL Ltd. the land, under its existing 999 year lease, the freehold owners, and the other owners/occupiers for the time being on this Trading Estate. We do not understand how the County Council can support any such application for development, which will clearly be in breach of these covenants, either in its capacity as the Planning Authority or as the legal owner of this site. 9 WAIL Ltd. 1.0 INTRODUCTION AND SCOPE OF THE APPLICATION 1.3.2. The applicant admits that the site is undeveloped. 1.3.4. The applicant admits that the area beyond the Trading Estate (and Waresley Landfill Site) is predominately rural in nature. The Rushock Trading Estate is another ex-military facility granted planning permission as a trading estate and not an industrial estate. 1.3.5. The applicant refers only to the nearest residential properties being two houses located on Crown Lane, which are approximately 300 metres to the South East of the site. This is misleading in that there are other residential properties within close proximity in all directions of the Trading Estate which would be impacted seriously and adversely by this proposed industrial operation. 1.4.1. The photographs and drawings provided by the applicant with this application do not in many cases show the extent of the proposed huge building and stack. In fact, to the contrary, they seek to minimise the impact by only showing the location from a considerable distance and by not showing the incinerator building and stack. 10 WAIL Ltd. 2.0 NEED 2.1 Introduction AD Anaerobic Digestion BMW Biodegradable Municipal Waste BPEO Best Possible Environmental Option BSW Biodegradable Solid Waste Energy from Waste, (Not just from mass burn incineration but also from MBT and EfW AD) JMWMS Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy MBT Mechanical Biological Treatment MSW Municipal Solid Waste MWM Mercia Waste Management NOx Oxides of nitrogen PM Particulate Materials (2 to 10 microns typically) RHI Renewable Heat Incentives ROC Renewable Obligation Certificates WDA Waste Disposal Authority We do not accept the applicant’s assessment of the need for this proposed development on this site as stated below. 2.2.1 Reference is made to the Waste Strategy for England 2007 and adherence to the waste hierarchy. This document gives great support for anaerobic digestion, including EfW from anaerobic digestion, especially from food waste. This powerful support should have been given fair consideration, instead it was completely ignored. It is now acknowledged by DEFRA that anaerobic digestion is on a par with composting in the hierarchy and this puts AD a level above energy recovery from waste. A significant advantage of AD is that energy is also recoverable in a clean form as methane and a co-product of soil conditioner and/or fertiliser is also derived. This avoids burning of fossil fuel derived plastics and the associated hazards of toxic emissions and particles that require expensive and sophisticated mitigation. 2.2.2 Preference is given to managing waste higher up the hierarchy. See above 2.2.3 There is no need for an expensive mass burn incinerator to ensure BMW diversion from landfill as it is better managed by AD. This method, preferred by the Coalition Government and DEFRA, will meet the targets by readily accepting the biodegradable fraction and allowing greater front end recycling thereby also demonstrating adherence to the waste hierarchy by managing waste at a higher level. 2.2.8 Landfill tax has been referred to by the new Government, which stated its commitment to anaerobic digestion and greater recycling. To drive and support these processes, it will put a floor under the 2013 landfill tax rate of £72 per tonne. In the light of the Waste Review announced June 16 by Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, there can be no guarantees that Government action will not lift the £2.5 per tonne tax on bottom ash in line with the general landfill floor value of £72 per tonne. 2.3.2 Sub paragraph 4 states that 45,000 tonnes MSW would need to be shipped from Herefordshire. This waste would contain 25,000 tonnes of BSW and this does not need an incinerator. This would be better treated by AD and EfW (methane) with front end recycling. The Proximity Principle is 11 WAIL Ltd. supported through small local digesters and gives great savings on CO2 from short transport runs, this also demonstrates sustainability. The Precautionary Principle referred to in PPS 10 is also supportive in this context. Although the Environment Agency monitor the incineration process and ensure emissions are kept under strictly controlled conditions there is still no limit deemed safe for PM’s and dioxins. As the alternative technology (AD) does not have these emissions, it would be precautionary to adopt that technology and eliminate the unknown risks from incinerator emissions. 2.4.5 This study and analysis failed to give proper consideration to modern preferred methods of dealing with BMW. The Stockholm convention was not considered during this review. Further, the study (as shown in annexe D of the JMWMS entitled Residual Options Appraisal) prepared by ERM consultants failed to consider Anaerobic Digestion of the MSW. Furthermore, this report is very similar in structure and content to the report appended to the planning application by Fichtner, entitled Residual Waste Treatment Options Appraisal. Who are the original authors of this report, Fichtner or ERM? In both cases, AD, which we contend is the BPEO, was overlooked or ignored by these consultants. Were they directed to omit this Government-preferred and DEFRA-supported method of treatment? The BPEO also would be served by small “community” digesters close to the source of waste production and therefore also satisfy the Proximity Principle. According to the waste model described by Fichtner in the above referenced report, 126,000 tonnes of the MSW is biodegradable; this could be digested anaerobically with methane capture and EfW electricity generation. In addition a soil conditioner and/or fertiliser would also be produced. Such treatment is mentioned in the recent Coalition Government’s documentation as being strongly supported. AD with greater front end recycling will give the best results from a Global Warming potential standpoint and completely avoid the emission of toxic materials and nano particles. These are characteristic (as acknowledged by the applicant) of waste incineration. This proposal scored badly in the assessment of Human toxicity demonstrating an increased environmental burden and this alone raises great doubts as to the process need. Other forms of treatment show an environmental benefit of reduced toxicity and for these reasons ought to receive a higher weighting. This proposal also scored worse in freshwater aquatic toxicity and dramatically worse in acidification and eutrophication. Such compromises can all be avoided with better considered processes and the need for this proposal is again rebutted. 2.4.8 Although the JMWMS concluded (albeit by the unfair exclusion of AD as an option) that the best performing scenario would be a single EfW plant producing electricity and heat this planning application does NOT include heat off take as the report states that there are no substantive opportunities existing for heat export. Consequently this proposal is not delivering the solution that the WDA require; ergo there is no need for this particular proposal. 2.4.14 A clear need has not been demonstrated for this proposal; a clear need to divert BSW from landfill has been shown. However, the BPEO test omitted AD, the process most favoured by modern authorities and central Government. In the interests of fairness, sound finance and environmental responsibility, this alternative technology must be fully evaluated prior to any just decision being made. 2.4.17 MWM state that it is not their intention to manage C&I waste but they do not wish to see a restriction in this planning permission. This is inconsistent with the Environmental Statement 3.1.1 where it is stated that in the unlikely event (sometime in the future) that there is insufficient MSW available then the plant could treat quantities of such waste. This is at direct odds with section 4.4.12 12 WAIL Ltd. Waste tonnage composition table 10 page 14; waste arising 2014 (the start date of the proposed incinerator). Of the 200,000 tonnes of waste to be burnt, 29,080 tonnes of it is described as C&I. Such inconsistencies are repeated throughout the planning application and therefore challenge its veracity. 2.5.2 The need for renewable energy is undisputed. EfW from mass burn is not renewable or sustainable when the waste burnt comprises fossil fuel derived plastics and other non biogenic materials. This paragraph does not stand up to scrutiny as it seeks to imply that all EfW is renewable and cites the glossary in PPS1. It then goes on to say that The Waste Strategy for England 2007 recognises that the biodegradable fraction is a source of renewable energy. Clearly the biodegradable fraction is the only part of MSW that can be considered a source of renewable energy. Of the 200,000 tonnes of waste to be treated 126,000 tonnes may be considered as biodegradable; this is reported by Fichtner in the appended technical document for MWM Residual Waste Treatment Options. By burning the fossil fuel derived fractions of MSW there is a massive detraction from the benefit of EfW from the biogenic fraction. No such trade off occurs with AD; again for this reason there is no need for the current proposal. 2.5.7 For the avoidance of doubt only the biodegradable fraction of MSW may be considered as renewable low carbon and sustainable. The other 45% of the MSW proposed to be burnt acts counter to this situation. 2.5.9 The AD method is better than this proposal as it undeniably taps into the renewable energy source found in biodegradable waste. Consequently the negative effects of burning the balance of the waste composition are avoided. Burning detracts from the benefits and energy recovered is NOT classifiable as renewable. See extract from PPS22 “For the purposes of this PPS, renewable energy covers those energy flows that occur naturally and repeatedly in the environment – from the wind, the fall of water, the movement of the oceans, from the sun and also from biomass. 1 Policies in this statement therefore cover technologies such as onshore wind generation, hydro, photovoltaics, passive solar, biomass and energy crops, energy from waste (but not energy from mass incineration of domestic waste), and landfill and sewage gas.” 2.5.12 Reducing CO2 emissions is a key target. A further inconsistency has been identified between the Fichtner report mentioned above and the ERM report on Residual Waste treatment Options as referred to earlier in this response. Both reports are similar; both use the WRATE model for identifying environmental burden or benefit. Fichtner declares an environmental benefit from the EfW Power only option (on which this application is based), saving 7,361 tonnes CO2 eq.. ERM declares an increase of 10,555 tonnes CO2 eq. and an environmental burden. The inconsistency between these two calculations could have disastrous consequences for the incinerators true carbon footprint. Fichtner declares that overall 170,000 tonnes of CO2 will be emitted and this is comprised two thirds from biodegradable waste but one third is from fossil fuel derived plastics. These should not be burnt, as they release fossil CO2 and the energy generated is not renewable and therefore not sustainable. Energy generated will not qualify for ROC’s or RHI’s; rather it will offset the valuable energy derived from the biogenic carbon constituents. The proposed incinerator will generate 61,000 tonnes of CO2 from the non-biodegradable waste for the 100,000,000 kWh of net exported electricity. The corresponding CO2 emission from power stations connected to National Grid is 59,200 tonnes. In the case of the power station CO2 quoted is the total life cycle value including mining. In the proposed incinerator’s case it does not include collection and 13 WAIL Ltd. transportation. This proposal therefore does not offset fossil fuel derived energy and even ignoring the CO2 from biodegradable waste still increases the County’s carbon footprint. 2.5.16 This proposal is not entitled to claim EfW with CHP as the planning application does NOT include heat off take. Only CHP plants may be so called if the heat is available and actually utilised. 2.5.18 PPS1 claims identifies as renewable only those descriptions as found in PPS22 above. EfW is not renewable unless from biogenic origin. Low carbon is identified as EfW with CHP. The proposal from MWM excludes Heat off-take in this application; could there have been some attempts to cloud this issue? 2.5.22 Better, cleaner and safer methods exist, and are preferred by informed authorities over this proposal, for the generation of CHP from biomass. Indeed the waste composition to be burned in this proposal contains 45% non biogenic material. 2.5.23 Other references are not identified: the Mayor of London’s plans, the Selby recovery park , Stoke ( Newcastle under Lyme) are three examples where modern alternative technologies, avoiding incineration, are the preferred option. These involve increased front end recycling and AD treatment of the biodegradable fraction with clean processes for energy recovery. 2.5.31 Heat off-take is not included in this proposal and the electricity generating efficiency is identified in the Fichtner report as 22%. The downsides of higher toxicity and air pollution including NOx releases outweigh this small generation of electricity; especially as a similar amount of power could be generated more cleanly and safely by AD of the biodegradable fraction of MSW with methane capture and conversion to electricity. With AD the NOx is not released to atmosphere but would be available in the digestate for use as a fertiliser for much needed energy crops for example. 2.5.35 Contrary to the stated conclusion, the identified need is for renewable energy generation and not for the MWM proposal. There are better methods for such generation and these must be considered fully. 2.5.42 The composition of the waste is also a point of conjecture. The black bin waste contains a large quantity of material that would be best treated by recycling. Much is made of the ability of the incinerator to burn a varying and flexible composition of MSW according to the Fichtner Options report but it clearly states in the Environmental Statement main report that the preferred range lies within quite narrow boundaries due to the effect on the calorific value. Both statements cannot be true and this will either cause problems when recycling inevitably is increased or, worse, lock the County into incineration for 25 years with no opportunities for increased recycling. This could have punitive effects if Government action demands greater recycling. Already waste collection authorities are being encouraged by Government papers to collect kitchen waste separately (for treatment ultimately by AD and CHP of the clean Methane produced.) The black bin waste volume collected by Wychavon is decreasing rapidly as more food waste is diverted to composting (IVC) and more materials are designated as recyclable. The Mercia proposal is a truly backwards step. Consequently mass burn incineration is not sustainable and the renewable energy comes at a very high cost in financial and environment consequence terms. The same amount of ROC’s and RHI could be obtained far more cheaply and with greater environmental benefits by processing the BSW 14 WAIL Ltd. through AD. Further the recyclables extracted from the black bin will have recoverable value for the County and its tax payers. Policy 23 of the JMWMS Headline Strategy states that “The Partnership will design and operate collection, transfer and associated transport and treatment systems to minimise the overall carbon emissions”. To comply with this policy full and proper consideration must be given to modern options. This has not been achieved by leaving out what is emerging as many authorities’ preferred route of AD with Methane (and Carbon Dioxide) collection for combustion and clean electrical generation and CHP in a very environmentally beneficial system. High grade, much needed fertiliser is produced as a valuable co- product supported by DEFRA. The Food strategy 2030 also recommends this route as the fertiliser replaces the synthetically produced version. 2.6 Conclusions Worcestershire and Herefordshire have identified the need for thermal treatment of up to 250,000 tonnes of MSW in their JMWMS review. This review was flawed in its assumptions and did not take into account separate collections of biodegradable waste and subsequent treatment by AD. The Wychavon district collection model, with separate food waste collection and 47% recycling, is working. Central Government will certainly encourage greater use of this approach and may well mandate it in the near future. Only the 126,000 tonnes is biodegradable and sustainable not the entire MSW volume of 200,000 tonnes as this proposal would purport. 15 WAIL Ltd. 3.0 PLANNING HISTORY 3.2 Hartlebury Trading Estate There was a detailed public enquiry when the original planning permission was granted subject to conditions under the planning agreement dated 8th July 1981 under Section 52 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1971. Restrictive Covenants were also imposed when the site was sold by the Secretary of State for Defence in 1980, so that, whilst planning permission was granted for buildings including commercial uses, the entire permission was on the basis that there would be a minimal impact to the rural aspect surrounding this Trading Estate. We deal with the aspects relating to the planning history under Section 4: Planning Policy Context Appraisal. However, the applicant’s assertion that this Trading Estate has a long history of industrial development is wrong. As previously mentioned, the Wienerberger Brickworks was treated, for planning purposes, as a special case due to the need for this to be sited near to land available for clay extraction. Any precedents for the Planning Authorities setting aside normal Green Belt considerations in supporting planning applications on the Trading Estate are not relevant. The Trading Estate is now subject to the Wychavon District Local Plan and the Green Belt restrictions on this major developed site adopted in 2006, which were specifically introduced to regularise any future development of this Trading Estate and were made to protect those living and working in this area. We have already stated that any implementation of an existing planning permission, if it were to come forward in compliance with that permission, would be a substantially lesser development than the proposed incinerator and the height/footprint of any buildings would be considerably less. It is most unlikely that any such development would conform entirely with the existing planning permission and any necessary modifications to bring the development up to date would be the subject of a new application which would have to be construed in accordance with the existing Local Plan and Green Belt restrictions. 16 WAIL Ltd. 4.0 PLANNING POLICY CONTEXT AND APPRAISAL 4.2 Policy Context – Overview The Development Plan & Material Considerations This planning application does not accord with the Development Plan. The material considerations in the application are flawed and presume against such a development in the Green Belt. These are specifically identified in Clause 4.3. 4.3 Detailed Policy Context 4.3.1 – 4.3.8. The Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands has been thrown into some doubt with the possibility that this will be overturned by the recently elected Coalition Government . 4.3.9 – 4.3.11. It is understood that the Worcestershire Structure Plan 1996 – 2011 has not been finalised and in any event the proposed development on this site is subject to the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006 and the Green Belt restrictions on the major developed site at Hartlebury Trading Estate. 4.3.12 Waste Policies This proposal does not accord with Waste Policies WD.1, WD.2 and WD.3 in that it is not the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO), does not comply with the proximity principle nor does it comply with the regional self-sufficiency requirement since it would be dealing with waste located on a site at the northern most extreme of Worcestershire and a considerable distance from Herefordshire; neither does it fit well into the waste hierarchy, as the application indicates it has no specific use for the heat generated, which would otherwise elevate this to a higher point in this hierarchy. Policy WD.2 – Waste Hierarchy - the proposed site does not comply with the requirement for waste to be located as near to its place of origin as possible, and the proposed location on this trading estate does not fit the requirement for this to be sited where the surrounding infrastructure and uses are appropriate. Hartlebury Trading Estate is acknowledged as being in the Green Belt area and is burdened with Restrictive Covenants restricting development of this nature. Policy WD.3 – Waste Management Facilities - the proposal does not accord with this policy in that it will be totally incompatible with its surroundings and will have an adverse environmental impact where the surrounding land and its features will be significantly harmed by the impact of this proposed building and its proposed operation. Policy EN.3 – Waste to Energy – this supports incineration from waste only where other policies are not compromised and it provides the Best Practicable Environmental Option. Our submissions show that these requirements have not been met. 4.3.13 General Policies Policy SD.1 – the proposed development neither minimises the use or pollution of natural resources nor minimises energy consumption, since it requires massive use of resources and energy both to transport the materials to the site and to remove the residual waste to other sites. 17 WAIL Ltd. Policy SD.2 – this proposed development will have a considerable detrimental impact upon the landscape and character of the proposed site which is within the Green Belt and in a largely rural area; inevitably this would have a major detrimental effect on the County’s environmental assets and landscape. Policy SD.4 – it has already been highlighted that the location in the extreme north of Worcestershire would substantially increase rather than minimise the need for waste to travel throughout the whole of Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the very north of these Counties. Policy CTC.1 – as far back as the public enquiry in the early 1980’s, it was recognised that the development of the former RAF maintenance unit into a Trading Estate required special treatment to protect the Green Belt and the surrounding rural areas. In fact, the restrictions in the Section 52 Agreement were imposed to prevent the Trading Estate itself becoming unsightly whilst covenants were imposed by the Secretary of State for Defence to prevent inappropriate development of the type now proposed. Policy CTC.2 – this policy will clearly be overwhelmingly breached by this proposal and no amount of architectural skill will reduce the sheer size and scale of the proposed building and stack and its consequential adverse impact upon skylines and hill features, including prominent views of such features. Policy CTC.5 – no amount of tree planting, conservation of hedgerows or landscaping will mitigate this enormous structure or reduce its impact on the surrounding area. Policy CTC.8, 9 – there is no history of flooding in the area so far as we are aware but there have been substantial accumulations of water on nearby land and it is believed that several water courses cross the site. The proposed construction and sinking of the building may well have an adverse affect on the water table and these water courses in the area. Policy CTC.10, 11, 12 – the sheer size and scale of the proposed development will have a detrimental effect on the locality within the Green Belt and an adverse impact on views from a number of local historic sites including Elmley Lovett Parish Church, which is sited on old Medieval Ground and adjacent to the site of a Medieval Village. Policy CTC.16, 17 and 19 – we have no further comment on that as otherwise mentioned in respect of other policies referred to. Policy D.39 – this proposed development is clearly in breach of this policy as admitted by the applicant and no “very special circumstances” have been demonstrated to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt. Policy T.1 – the proposed development would not be located within or adjacent to open areas, contrary to this policy, and it does not minimise travel; indeed it would maximise this. Whilst it is true that a railway line runs along the edge of this site, it is on the very opposite end of the Trading Estate and no facilities exist or are likely to be made available for loading or unloading of any materials to be delivered or removed from this site. Policy T.15 – as highlighted in Policy T.1 above, there are no facilities to transfer or remove the transport of goods away from the road network. 18 WAIL Ltd. 4.3.14 - 4.3.16 Wychavon District Local Plan Hartlebury Trading Estate is identified in this Local Plan adopted as recently as June 2006 as a major developed site in the Green Belt. There are serious implications and considerations for such sites which can be briefly summarised as follows:- i. Policy SR8 provides that the protection of the Green Belt is an overriding planning consideration and there is a presumption against inappropriate development within it. Any development must retain the openness of the Green Belt and it is important that the scale, location or design of buildings or structures do not impair the open character of the Green Belt. ii. Any proposals involving development of this site should:- a. have no greater impact than the existing development on the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land within it, and where possible have less; b. contribute to the achievement of the objectives for use of land in Green Belts, set out in Policy SR7 (Development in Green Belt) and have regard for the provisions of Policy ECON1 (Employment Land); c. not exceed the height of existing buildings; d. not occupy an area larger than the footprint of existing buildings, unless this would achieve a reduction in height, which would benefit visual amenity. It is clear that the application for this proposed development is completely at odds and breaches the above policies and is totally inappropriate, especially having regard to the sheer size and scale of the proposed buildings, the stack and the proposed operations. 4.3.17 Policy ENV20 – we consider that the proposal will give rise to water, air, noise, light and other pollution including toxins and the application has not demonstrated that this can be adequately mitigated. Policy SUR2 – however high standard the design the proposed building cannot possibly make a positive contribution to the visual quality of the environment. Material Planning Considerations – Waste Framework Directive (December 2008) 4.3.18 and 4.3.19 Recital 19 – this proposed waste facility does not come high in the waste hierarchy as it does not provide any facility for the heat generated from the proposed operation. Recital 20 – this proposal falls short of the requirement of a true combined heat and power plant, therefore is not energy efficient and cannot be considered as recovery of energy. Article 16 – this application fails on this Article as the proposed development does not meet the proximity principle, nor is it recovered in the nearest appropriate installations, nor is the method or technology appropriate as identified in our Technical Report with these submissions Waste Strategy England (May 2007) 4.3.20 This indicates there is a preference for Energy from Waste (EfW) proposals that recover heat and electricity and that such facilities should be in locations where they are able to maximise opportunities for combined heat and power. This application clearly fails to identify any substantial market or use for the heat to be generated and therefore does not meet these requirements. The Energy White Paper does indicate Government support for Energy from Waste but it is not limited to incineration and further consideration should be given to the recently elected Coalition 19 WAIL Ltd. Government’s preference for anaerobic digestion which would better fulfil all of the essential requirements. Whilst it is stated there is no credible evidence of adverse health outcomes for individuals living near incinerators, equally there is no credible evidence which conclusively states that this is safe. Indeed there is much evidence to the contrary and in the case of any doubt any planning decision should always err on the side of health and safety for the benefit of the public. Planning Policy Statement 10 (PPS10): Planning for Sustainable Waste Management (July 2005) 4.3.21 – 4.3.32 This policy repeats the points we have already made and dealt with in relation to the proximity principle and the unsuitability of this site which clearly show that this proposed development is totally inappropriate. Planning Policy Guide (PPG) Note No. 2 (PPG2): Green Belt (March 1999) and the Town & Country Planning Green Belt Direction 2005 4.3.33 – 4.3.40 All of these sections simply highlight the presumption against Green Belt development but in relation to the proposed site at Hartlebury Trading Estate, all of these considerations are further underwritten by its identification as a major developed site in the Green Belt with particular constraints against new developments; these do not allow infilling, increased footprint and height greater than the existing surrounding buildings. This proposed development flies in the face of these restrictions. Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands Phase 2 Revision 4.3.41 – 4.3.47 We have not commented on these sections having regard to the current uncertainty surrounding this Strategy and the likelihood of its discontinuance by the recently elected Coalition Government. Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development (2005, PPS1 supplement: Planning & Climate Change (2007, Planning Policy Statement 22 (PPS22): Renewable Energy (2004) and Draft Planning Policy Statement: Planning for a Low Carbon Future in a Changing Climate (March 2010) 4.3.48- 4.3.58 We totally agree with these policies but the proposed development will clearly be in breach of these principles in many cases in that it is not the correct process, nor does it adhere to the proximity principle. We would particularly draw attention to Clause viii of paragraph 4.3.7 in relation to draft policy LCF14.2, dealing with the determination of planning applications for renewable and low carbon development which provides that local planning authorities should: “recognise that when located in the Green Belt elements of many renewable energy projects will comprise inappropriate development, which may impact on the openness of the Green Belt. Careful consideration will therefore need to be given to the visual impact of projects, and developers will need to demonstrate very special circumstances that clearly outweigh any harm by reason of inappropriateness and any other harm if projects are to proceed. Such very special circumstances may include the wider environmental benefits associated with increased production of energy from renewable resources”. Quite clearly, as we have already identified, no “very special circumstances” have been demonstrated; there will be no environmental benefits associated with this mass burn incinerator, 20 WAIL Ltd. indeed this will be detrimental and harmful to the area, and this proposed development is therefore totally inappropriate. Energy White Paper “Meeting the Energy Challenge” (May 2007); UK Renewable Energy Strategy; Worcestershire Waste Core Strategy – Emerging Preferred Options Consultation; and Review of the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy for Herefordshire & Worcestershire 2004 – 2034 (November 2009). These strategies are the subject of much change and further consultation in view of the recently elected Coalition Government’s proposals to move towards anaerobic digestion and a Zero Waste Strategy. In the light of this, the planning authority should give serious pause for thought as to whether this application should be considered in the light of the likely major changes in this area in the foreseeable future. 4.4 Planning Policy Appraisal 4.4.1 We have set out our comments regarding the applicant’s assessment of the policies and guidance described previously within this Section. 4.4.2. We have noted that these specific Policies referred to in this Section apply especially to this proposed development and have particular significance to this application. Green Belt 4.4.3 – 4.4.4. The presumptions against this type of development in the Green Belt and the particular restrictions affecting this site have been dealt with elsewhere. Historic Green Belt Context 4.4.5 – 4.4.6 It is recognised that Hartlebury Trading Estate was an RAF Maintenance Unit prior to its sale by the Secretary of State for Defence in 1980. The very fact that it required a public inquiry before planning permission was granted with Section 52 Agreement conditions and Restrictive Covenants were imposed expressly indicates that this site was considered to be of a particularly sensitive nature. Despite a lack of consistency of applying the planning process in previous years, this was finally resolved by its recognition as a major developed site in the Wychavon District Local Plan adopted in 2006. It is assumed this adoption was intended to finally ensure a consistent approach to any proposed development and planning decisions on this Trading Estate. Clearly, members of the public are entitled to consider that these restrictions were made as representations to them by the statutory authorities and were matters to be relied on in making decisions to acquire residential and commercial properties within the area. Any contravention of this will be a serious breach capable of remedy by individuals or companies who or which may suffer loss as a result. Policy Relating to Major Developed Sites within the Green Belt 4.4.7 – 4.4.9 The applicant has again acknowledged that this is a major developed site within the Green Belt subject to specific restrictions and in 4.4.9 confirms that the height of both the proposed building and chimney stack will be contrary to this Policy requiring the need to establish very special circumstances in order for planning permission to be granted; such very special circumstances have not been proven by the applicant. 21 WAIL Ltd. Assessment of Effects on the Green Belt 4.4.10 We consider that the effects on the Green Belt would be as follows:- (i) The need to protect the site in accordance with the existing Local Plan and Green Belt restrictions does not accord with the purposes of including the development of this land in the Green Belt of this proposed enormous size and scale. (ii) The proposed development does not accord with the objectives for the use of land in the Green Belt. (iii) The proposed development would clearly and substantially impact upon the openness of the Green Belt; and (iv) The proposed development would clearly and substantially injure the visual amenity of the Green Belt. The Purposes of Including Land in the Green Belt 4.4.11 – 4.4.13 The proposed development is on a Trading Estate not an industrial estate, is not situated centrally within the site and would be on the extreme boundary adjacent to a now completed landfill site undergoing restoration to agricultural purposes. It is improper to suggest, as the applicant has, that the proximity to this closed landfill site is relevant as a reason to grant planning permission for this application. The planning permission granted for the landfill site is very specific in detail in the conditions imposed for its restoration and return to beneficial agricultural use in the Green Belt. Clearly, this is a further argument against the application rather than for it, as the huge proposed building and stack, if permitted, would be a permanent blot on the landscape. The applicant suggests that as planning permission exists for 5 industrial units, this would allow the incinerator application to have no material adverse consequences. In fact, this planning permission, whilst not complying with the current development plan, or the identification of the site as a major developed site within the Trading Estate, nonetheless would only permit buildings not exceeding the same height and appearance as those which already exist on this Trading Estate and not for units which would be several times higher. The likelihood of the applicant developing the site along exactly the same lines as the current planning permission is judged to be extremely remote meaning that, in reality, a new application would need to be made for any new units which would have to be judged on all of the latest conditions which have been adopted since this planning permission was granted in 1999 including the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006 and the Green Belt restrictions, especially those relating to the height and footprint which should not exceed those of existing buildings. The site is not previously used or disturbed in the manner suggested by the applicant for previous development and, in fact, in the days when the site was an RAF Maintenance Unit, it merely had a small long defunct private railway track only serving the movement of goods from building to building on the site. In the intervening years, nature has recovered the site and, to all intents and purposes, it now appears as an open area sitting on the very edge (and not in the centre) of the Trading Estate which will be immediately adjacent to land which is to be restored to agricultural use and provides a much needed buffer between the Trading Estate and nearby residential properties. This also presently retains the open spaces deemed necessary by the requirement that infilling should not take place. 22 WAIL Ltd. The special character of the historic rural environment of Hartlebury and Elmley Lovett, going back as far as medieval times, will clearly be adversely affected by any further infilling, let alone this proposed enormous power station-sized building and stack which again is on the periphery and not centrally sited as the applicant repeatedly but mistakenly maintains. This site is not derelict land and has, as previously described, been restored to an undisturbed plot of land. The only disturbance has been brought about since the purchase of the site by Worcestershire County Council in 2007, whereby a number of trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order have been removed. The site can in no way be considered (as the applicant entitles it) as “derelict land” and its development would remove a valuable open space within the Green Belt (since the Estate is “washed over” by the Green Belt). Contrary to the statement by applicant in 4.4.13, it has been clearly demonstrated that the loss of this site to development would have material adverse consequences for the purpose of including land from the Green Belt and this is totally contrary to the indications in PPG2 and presumption against any development in the Green Belt. Therefore, all of the arguments upon which the applicant relies are gravely flawed. The Objectives for the Use of Land in the Green Belt 4.4.14 – 4.4.16 The proposed development is not centrally located and is, to all intents and purposes in true planning terms, on undisturbed land. This will clearly be contrary to the third, fourth, fifth and sixth objectives in PPG2 paragraph 1.6. It will not retain or enhance the landscapes near to where people live. The proposed building will interfere with this open land, will be detrimental to nature conservation and be contrary to the requirement to retain land in agricultural forestry and related uses. Openness 4.4.17 – 4.4.21 The proposed development is totally inappropriate and will significantly impact on the openness of the Green Belt contrary to paragraphs to 11-14 of the Town and Country Planning (Green Belt) Direction 2005. In every respect, the proposed building contravenes paragraph 12 of this Direction and its advice on height or bulk of buildings in the Green belt. Additionally, paragraph 13 highlights that a facility which involves intensive on–site activity, a large number of parked vehicles, considerable transport movements to, from or around the site or require prominent security will have a potentially significant impact on the Green Belt. This paragraph 13 is relevant to even small scale buildings and therefore the impact would be massively increased by such an enormous building and stack as proposed in this application. With regard to paragraph 14, no amount of mitigation in relation to the size and scale of this proposed development can be achieved, however carefully the landscaping or planting is provided or sited. The Degree of Sensitivity of the Land to Harm from New Development 4.4.22 Any argument about whether the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006 allows inappropriate development is irrelevant when trying to argue for any development which is clearly contrary to the existing criteria in relation to the height and footprint of any new buildings. 23 WAIL Ltd. The Trading Estates planning history is also irrelevant because the 2006 Local Plan obviously sought to once and for all establish the specific manner in which the development should be allowed, thus putting to an end the previous apparent inconsistent approach to planning decisions. Clearly, this has been represented to and relied upon by the members of the public who live and work in the surrounding areas. 4.4.23 Within the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006, it was identified that the entire Trading Estate needed to be dealt with in a totally uniform manner and should be identified as a major developed site within the Green Belt. This designation in itself accepts that it has a valuable part to play in respect of developments in the Green Belt and therefore the contention by the applicant that the sensitivity from development on this site is low is completely wrong. 4.4.24 The applicant should not seek to determine the County Council’s or the District Council’s interpretation of the planning process. Suffice it to say that the inclusion of the Trading Estate as a major developed site within the Green Belt as part of the Wychavon District Local Plan in 2006 was established after considerable consultation. Post the adoption of this 2006 Local Plan, all applications had been judged based on the conditions and Green Belt restrictions therein. Any contentious applications and grants of planning permission all pre-date the adoption of this Plan which sought to ensure that any future developments would be subject to this planning control. 4.4.25 Notwithstanding the comments made regarding the extant planning permission granted in 1999, we would repeat that this planning permission was granted more than 10 years ago and would be most unlikely to be implemented without considerable modification requiring a revised planning application which would be judged under the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006. Even if these units were to be built, in accordance with the planning permission granted in 1999, in essence the size and scale of them were designed to conform with the remaining units on the Trading Estate and not to be at least three times higher as is the case with the existing application. Quite clearly, the applicant’s contention that the previous planning permission could be implemented in any event is irrelevant because the previously proposed buildings would have to conform with the existing buildings in terms of height and appearance and comply with the Local Plan. Incidentally, the level of employment that would have been provided by the previously proposed units would no doubt have been considerably more than the now proposed development of the incinerator. This previous planning permission did not include any consent for any operation outside of normal business hours. 4.4.26 For the reasons stated above, it can be concluded that the site and it’s surroundings are indeed very sensitive to harm from this proposed development. The Nature of the Green Belt (i.e. whether it is narrow or partly confined by existing or planned development) 4.4.27 – 4.4.31 The Green Belt has been identified as being important to the area as a whole and to seek to suggest, as the applicant has, that some parts are more important than others is disingenuous and totally contrary to the nature of the Green Belt. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open. Consideration of retaining the Green Belt on a small trading estate in a rural area must heighten the need to preserve open spaces not to reduce them. In seeking to justify sporadic development 24 WAIL Ltd. of this nature, this would eventually have a massive impact on the Green Belt and must be resisted at all costs. Whether the Development is overlooked by or Close to Residential Development 4.4.32 – 4.4.38 The arguments put forward by the applicant in these Sections are seriously flawed and incorrect. There are a considerable number of residential properties which will have free and unrestricted views of this proposed massive building and its enormous chimney stack. We attach in our Appendices the photographs taken from a structure which is only two thirds of the proposed height of the incinerator building. These photographs are taken in various directions around the proposed site from a fixed point adjacent to the development site. These photographs quite clearly demonstrate two things which are totally at odds with the applicant’s assertions:- (i) There are a considerable number of residential properties which can be viewed from the development site and not the small number suggested by the applicant. Since these can be seen from the site, it inevitably follows that the proposed development, because of its enormity, will be clearly seen from these residential properties; and (ii) A much greater number of these residential properties lie very much closer to the proposed development site than the applicant is suggesting to be the case. The Land is a Valued Resource for Recreational Purposes 4.4.49 The site of the proposed development is not centrally located nor is it previously used or disturbed as we have outlined elsewhere and does, in fact, have connectivity with the open countryside as it is immediately adjacent to a closed landfill currently being restored to agricultural use in accordance with the strict planning conditions attached to that site. It Forms Part of (or has the Potential to Enhance) an Attractive Area of Open Countryside or Landscape 4.4.50 Once again, the applicant appears to be attempting to mislead by suggesting that the development plot is centrally located and comprises previously used and disturbed land. None of these statements are true. The site is in fact bounded on two sides by the existing trading estate buildings and on the other sides by the large copse known as Middle Covert and the aforementioned closed landfill site being restored to agricultural use. Any suggestion that the landfill site is a permanent adverse feature which should justify the proposed development is totally inappropriate as this will over time be restored to the open countryside whereas this will clearly not be the case with the proposed incinerator. If it is Important to the Preservation of the Setting and Special Character of a Historic Town. 4.4.51 – 4.4.52 Yet again, we need to stress that the site is not centrally located on Hartlebury Trading Estate. Hartlebury and Elmley Lovett are both historic villages with a long documented history and all of the land upon which theTrading Estate is marked on maps dating back to medieval times and before. The Trading Estate was first developed for the purposes of civil defence in wartime and has latterly (in 2006) been identified as a major developed site in the Green Belt. Any substantial inappropriate development of this nature would inevitably adversely affect the setting and special character of these historic villages and the surrounding area. Consideration of the Scale of the Development 4.4.53 – 4.4.54 The proposed development is on a huge scale which is totally inappropriate to the area in which it is intended to be sited. No amount of architectural skill or landscaping can 25 WAIL Ltd. mitigate the sheer size and scale of the proposed buildings and chimney stack. These features would, without question, totally dominate and adversely affect the visual amenities and openness of the Green Belt. Furthermore, it has already been demonstrated (under Section 4.4.32 – 4.4.48 and its accompanying photographs) that the applicant’s suggestion that the visibility and proximity affects few residential properties is totally incorrect and, indeed, in one direction it impinges on an entire residential estate. The Nature of the Development 4.4.55 – 4.4.57 Once again, we consider the applicant’s statements are completely misleading. The proposed development would be sited on the very edge of the Trading Estate; it would not be surrounded on all sides by any large scale development and on-site would be clearly visible from the wider open Green Belt. This will be particularly true when the adjacent Waresley Landfill Site has undergone restoration to beneficial open countryside for agricultural or public use. Hartlebury Trading Estate may have on-site activities and vehicle movements but any external materials storage and handling is contrary to the conditions in the Section 52 Agreement imposed when planning permission was originally granted in 1981. Any attempt to justify this development because of previous breaches occurring is not appropriate and, indeed, any such breaches should be remedied and enforced by planning control. The extent to which any potential impacts of the development could be reduced , or mitigated by careful siting, landscaping or planting. 4.4.58 – 4.4.59 As already outlined, the sheer size and scale of the proposed enormous building and chimney stack can in no way be mitigated by its siting, landscaping or planting. Conclusion on Openness 4.4.60 – 4.4.61 The statements we have previously made clearly show that the proposed development would significantly impact upon the openness of the Green Belt. All of the points made by the applicant have already been dealt with previously and proved to be incorrect. Visual Amenity 4.4.62 – 4.4.64 The arguments made by the applicant in these paragraphs have been effectively countered in previous sections but we feel that the following comments are essential. All of the surrounding developments on sites in the Green Belt, including Hartlebury Trading Estate, were developed as wartime facilities for civil defence which pre-date the implementation of the Green Belt and the adoption of the Wychavon District Local Plan in 2006. To seek to justify a huge industrial development or buildings by reference to the landfill operations is irrelevant, as in all cases such operations are being and will be restored to open countryside for agricultural or public use. Electricity pylons are present in the area but no more so than in any other Green Belt area, so the introduction of these features to the argument is irrelevant. Tall radio masts to the east of the M5 motorway exist but why does the existence of such masts some considerable distance away on the other side of the motorway have any bearing whatsoever on this application? 26 WAIL Ltd. Finally, the well treed undulating landform will be considerably and overwhelmingly spoilt by an inclusion of such a massive building and its chimney stack. Very Special Circumstances 4.4.65 As admitted by the applicant, PPG2 indicates that this proposed development is inappropriate development which should only be allowed within the Green Belt if the applicant can demonstrate that very special circumstances exist which outweigh any potential harm to the Green Belt. 220.127.116.11. The applicant contends that Hartlebury Trading Estate is the only suitable and available site for the development of the proposed incinerator. We consider this to be incorrect because it does not fit either criterion. (a) “Suitable” – it is impossible to argue that the site is suitable when clearly there are so many contra-arguments against a development of this nature in the Green Belt. If, on the applicant’s own admission, the development is inappropriate, how can any argument possibly be made that any such development would be suitable? (b) “Available” – the mere fact that the site (or indeed any site) may be available does not make it appropriate nor does it justify “very special circumstances”. The applicant concedes that a third party may disagree with any of the Site Search Exercise (SSE) conclusions, but argues that the overriding need for the development should justify the development in the Green Belt. Clearly, this ignores the fact that the applicant has failed to justify any overriding need for a development of this nature. 18.104.22.168. As previously, detailed in these our submissions, the fall-back position in relation to the existing planning permission in its current form represents a much more suitable development should this be allowed than that proposed by the applicant. The very fact that planning permission has existed for five speculative small warehouse/distribution units for approximately 11 years on an estate with a significant number of void units demonstrates in itself that there is little appetite for such a development. Even if such units were built, whilst they would contravene the latest Local Plan, they would nonetheless, comply with many aspects of this Plan, particularly in relation to the height of the buildings, much more than the applicant’s proposal. In any event, any fall-back development is extremely unlikely to go forward on an 11-year -old design and would inevitably require a fresh application for any variations, which would be subject to the latest conditions imposed on the site, including compliance with the 2006 Local Plan and the Green Belt planning restrictions. 22.214.171.124. Whilst it is accepted that genuinely beneficial uses for the production of energy from renewable sources may provide “very special circumstances”, clearly, from the points we have already made in our submissions, this proposal does not comply. The applicant has provided no substantive evidence that heat produced from this incinerator could be effectively used. This leaves the entire development producing a small quantity of electricity very inefficiently, and therefore does not meet the requirements which would enable it to be termed truly renewable energy. Much more evidence and greater detail is provided in our Technical Report in Part 4 of our objections. 27 WAIL Ltd. It would be difficult to argue that “very special circumstances” exist for this siting of the proposed development even if it were a full scale combined heat and power operation; the fact that the heat element is not utilised negates any argument in favour of it. 126.96.36.199 It is acknowledged that on 3rd February 2005 planning permission was granted for the proposed Estech plant which did not proceed in any event. This proposed facility comprised an Autoclave unit on a much lesser scale and to deal with approximately half the quantity of the waste proposed for the incinerator. In any event, the 2005 planning permission pre-dated the 2006 Local Plan which, as previously explained, identified Hartlebury Trading Estate as a major developed site in the Green Belt and sought to rationalise the previous ad hoc planning decisions. Also, in any event, this planning permission expired in February 2010 and it is interesting to note from the applicant’s own appendix (being the planning permission granted under reference 407596) that a number of the conditions attached to that permission reinforce our argument that this permission creates no precedent whatsoever. In particular, we would draw attention to the following conditions:- Condition 6 – this restricts treatment of waste from any areas other than North Worcestershire; no treatment of waste from South Worcestershire or Herefordshire would have been dealt with by the Estech plant. Therefore, immediately, the proposal by the applicant does not comply with any proximity principle that may have applied for the Estech unit. Condition 7 – a specific limit of 100,000 tonnes of waste per year was imposed, less than one half of what is now proposed. This will obviously have an adverse impact on site activity vehicle movement and traffic. Condition 8 – rather intriguingly, this Condition stated that no materials shall be burnt on site – this is quite a challenging condition for an incinerator to overcome! Condition 13 – this states that noise activity shall not be audible at the nearest residential properties on Sundays, Bank Holidays and Public Holidays. NB: No noise activity. It was not sufficient to say that any noise should not disturb any properties, simply that it should not be audible at all. Condition 24 – it is interesting to note that on an application for development on an adjoining site the owners of this Trading Estate objected because the private sewerage plant on site had already reached capacity. Condition 30 – this provided that the facility should not operate except between 06.00 and 22.00 hours Mondays to Saturdays and not at all on Sundays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. Clearly, the planning officer considered operation outside these hours to be unacceptable. How can this possibly be reconciled with the current application for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, every day of the year operation which is totally inappropriate and unacceptable for the surrounding residential properties? In any event, the decision making process was based on facts which have since been superseded especially by the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006. We attach as one of the appendices to our submissions a copy of the Planning and Regulatory Committee Report 28 WAIL Ltd. dated 14th December 2004 provided at the time of the planning application for the proposed Estech unit. Many of the factors taken into account in reaching the decision to grant planning permission for that proposed unit would not apply to the current incinerator application. In particular, emphasis at that time was given to the proximity of the Waresley Landfill Site as being available for use in conjunction with the Estech unit. This is no longer the case since the site has been capped with no intention to return to landfill for a minimum of ten years. Current movement away from landfill (and the site operators agree) means any return to operations there is unlikely to occur for a very considerable time, if at all, and certainly beyond the time for the operation of any incinerator, if this were to be built. The justification for the Estech unit that it would conform with the B1, B2 and B8 planning uses would clearly not apply for this proposed enormous building. Under Section 136 of the above mentioned committee report, it was acknowledged that the proposed Estech unit would be contrary to the then Green Belt policy which has since then been superseded as previously stated and ratified by 2006 Local Plan and the Green Belt restrictions. However, we would comment on the points relating to the “very special circumstances” for allowing the Estech unit which do not apply to the proposed incinerator as follows:- a) Proximity to waste arisings in North Worcestershire - the applicant’s proposal does not conform to the proximity principle as waste will be moved from the whole of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. b) Well-related to the Waresley landfill site, meaning no off-site traffic when delivering residual products to landfill. We repeat that the Waresley site is unlikely to re-open for landfilling for a minimum of 10 years, if at all. Any suggestion that such residuals are diverted to Hartlebury landfill should be included in the application as there already exists substantial traffic problems through Hartlebury village, Station Road including the level crossing. If this were to be considered, it would require a full report from the Highways Authority which has already expressed its considerable concerns in Hartlebury. c) The County Structure Plan at that time sought to encourage waste handling and treatment facilities to be located in buildings on industrial estates. The Report indicates that all operations for the Estech unit would take place within the proposed building and there would be little to distinguish it from other businesses there so provided consent is considered appropriate, it should have no greater impact. The Report goes on to say as the site is well-screened – there would no harm caused to the Green Belt and any views of the proposed building would be limited and distant and seen against the backdrop of the other buildings on the Trading Estate. Clearly, the proposed incinerator would not conform with any of the above matters highlighted in relation to the Estech proposal and the proposed incinerator would have a much greater impact and cause serious harm to the Green Belt, with the views of the proposed building dominating the skyline whilst dwarfing the existing buildings on the Trading Estate. 188.8.131.52. Whilst the applicant provides two letters from companies suggesting that they could process bottom ash from the proposed incinerator plant, there is no evidence whatsoever 29 WAIL Ltd. to suggest there are any means to use this raw material in any process before being treated at a site distant from the proposed incinerator. Also, there is considerable concern about the use of bottom ash, even after treatment and, generally, it is accepted that the only safe way of disposing of this product is at a suitably regulated landfill site. There are vast stockpiles of cleaner more useful ash generated by coal-fired power stations which have not yet found suitable uses. 184.108.40.206 This has been well-argued previously and the applicant’s contention is irrelevant. We have already confirmed that the Wychavon District Local Plan 2006 was intended to unify and regularise planning matters on Hartlebury Trading Estate and any planning applications or decisions which pre-date this, have no significance; to argue that there is a history of mistakes is disingenuous. Any planning decisions or activity in the past cannot justify the development proposed by the applicant – many previous wrongs do not make this application right. 220.127.116.11. There is no evidence provided by the applicant that the proposed development is truly Combined Heat Power (CHP). No such use for the heat has been identified and the applicant simply suggests that the plant could support heat off-take proposals. Without the plant being fully CHP, the proposal simply does not meet the criteria for truly renewable energy. 18.104.22.168. Even if , as alleged, 70% of municipal waste arising is within Worcestershire, with the majority of this being generated in the North of Worcestershire, the Hartlebury site is very much further north than any calculations for the optimum location would conclude. Contrary to the proximity principle, large heavy goods vehicles would additionally need to travel to this extreme northerly site from the rest of Worcestershire and the whole of Herefordshire, contributing considerably to the carbon footprint on these routes. Obviously, increasing the mileage required to be travelled by large heavy goods vehicles cannot possibly constitute “a very special circumstance” in support of this application. 22.214.171.124. This clause bases the argument for siting the incinerator at Hartlebury on the premise that Wyre Forest has no waste transfer station within the area. It is surely inappropriate to structure the entire waste disposal process for the whole of Worcestershire & Herefordshire on the basis that the whole process is designed to avoid a waste transfer station in Wyre Forest and in other areas in the north of Worcestershire. Surely, the provision of such a waste transfer station would enable the same arguments to be made as are put forward for other areas which do not have such facilities to have the same option to transfer the waste in bulk. This would enable a proper and fairer distribution of waste throughout these Counties. 126.96.36.199. During either planned or unforeseen shutdowns of the proposed incinerator, the applicant states it would be necessary to temporarily redirect residual waste to landfill. It identifies Waresley/ Hartlebury landfills as very proximate and suitable locations for such short term residual waste disposal and “this locational synergy with Mercia EnviRecover development is an important planning consideration”. Far from being an important planning consideration in support they present clear disadvantages in that :- (a) Waresley landfill is now closed and will be for a minimum of ten years – if it is to reopen at all. i.e. at least five years after the proposed incinerator is to be operational. (b) If Hartlebury landfill is considered as part of the planning consideration, then representations should be made to the Highways Authority as the extra traffic 30 WAIL Ltd. would provide very difficult and extreme road conditions in an area which has already been identified as of great concern. It is totally unacceptable to simply make assertions as part of this application without fully identifying the difficulties and impracticalities in being able to implement these proposals. 188.8.131.52. The applicant suggests that the co-locational benefit to the adjoining Wienerberger local brickworks is an important planning consideration. Yet again, this is an assumption albeit supported by a letter from Wienerberger which bears closer examination as follows:- (a) There is no technical evidence suggesting that the clay in this area would be acceptable for brick making. There exists in the adjacent site a number of Gypsum seams which preclude the use of clay containing this from the manufacture of bricks. (b) The current existing planning permission for the Wienerberger plant initially granted to Baggeridge Brick clearly defines the area from which the clay can be used for the manufacture of bricks from the adjoining plant which can only be sourced from the quarry which is clearly detailed within this planning permission. Any desire to use the clay excavated from the proposed incinerator site would clearly require a variation to the planning permission granted to Baggeridge Brick. 184.108.40.206. The fact that the planning history of the site, including the Estech plant, sets no precedent for its use as a waste management facility has already been clearly identified in our previous submissions above and therefore none of these can be argued as important planning considerations in support of this application. 220.127.116.11. The applicant seeks to suggest that the potential availability to secure a grid connection for the export of electricity is an important planning consideration. The existence of such a possible grid connection cannot possibly override all of the disadvantages highlighted on siting such a development in this location in the Green Belt. Conclusions on Green Belt 4.4.67 There may well be a need for facilities to be developed within the Counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire to avoid the use of out-of-county alternatives. None of the arguments put forward have provided conclusive evidence that there is an overriding need for a facility such as that proposed in this application. As already pointed out previously, it matters not whether alternative sites are available and such a statement does not render a totally unsuitable site such as that at Hartlebury acceptable simply 31 WAIL Ltd. because others are not available. The question should be whether the proposed mass burn incinerator is indeed the solution or whether smaller, local and more acceptable means of providing energy from waste need to be utilised. The Coalition Government are proposing much greater use of Anaerobic Digestion with which we would concur. The applicant states that any development such as the proposed mass burn incinerator has its own locational needs which are listed as follows: “Needing to be well located in respect of the local pattern of waste arisings” – the site proposed does not meet this requirement. In fact clause 132 of the Planning Inspector’s Appeal Decision dated 10th July 2002 into the applicant’s proposal for a mass burn incinerator at the British Sugar Site in Kidderminster states: “And when considered in relation to all of Herefordshire & Worcestershire, it is seen to lie in a relatively remote northern corner.” The Hartlebury site is only some 3.7 miles from the Sugar Beet site and so the same observation would apply. “A good standard of access to the main highway network”. The A449 has been the subject of much remedial work due to a succession of accidents, some of them fatal. In many areas the former dual carriageway has been reduced to single lane working for safety. The considerable increase in large vehicles would be in addition to those already using these roads. “The potential for heat off-take users” – As stated several times this proposal remains only as potential. No definite use for such heat off-take has been identified and therefore the plant does not meet the true CHP criteria. “Sufficient distance from sensitive properties in order to avoid impact on the local amenity” – we have already indicated in our earlier submissions that the applicant has sought to play-down both the number and the level of impacts this development will have on nearby properties. We would draw your attention to the photographs illustrating the number of properties in all directions which will be impacted. “An available, viable electricity grid connection” – whilst we acknowledge that such an opportunity to connect to the local grid exists this should not in our opinion be taken as a sound basis for choosing this site. Even if such a facility for mass burn incineration was needed (and we would argue that no case has been made for such a need) then the relatively low cost, in comparison to the scheme’s overall cost, of providing such a connection should not be used as a determining or supporting factor. 4.4.68 In this paragraph the applicant concludes that the points raised in item 4.4.67 attach a significant weight to the policies of PPS10 and support this development within the Green Belt. 32 WAIL Ltd. Our counter arguments listed under section 4.4.67, we believe, specifically detail that all points put forward for the development of this mass burn incinerator do not in fact support such a proposal. The very contrary is the case and in every instance the justification is flawed in the manner we have described. Furthermore the subsequent arguments then put forward by the applicants are also based on extremely false conclusions. “Would have no material adverse effect on the purposes of including land within the Green Belt.” – We have argued at length previously that there is a full and absolute need to maintain this site within the Green Belt. Additionally we have pointed out that in acknowledging the site is in fact Green Belt it is not valid to justify “ad hoc” developments by suggesting some parts of the Green Belt are more important than others. “Would contribute to the fourth and fifth objectives for the use of land in the Green Belt and would be of no detriment to the achievement of the other objectives.” – We have previously indicated that the development does not contribute to the fourth and fifth objectives and in fact is detrimental to the achievement of the objectives. “Would not significantly impact on the openness of the Green Belt” – As already stated the proposed site is on the very edge of the Trading Estate, it has an adjacent development of buildings one third of its height on one side only. Of the other two sides in the Trading Estate one is bordered by an extensive area of trees and plantings and the other by a road (Oak Drive), beyond which are offices and warehouses once again less than a third of the height of the building proposed. The fourth side represents the boundary of the Trading Estate land. It is true that the land adjacent to this has been used as a landfill site following clay extraction and is shown on the applicant’s drawings as a clay pit. In fact this site is currently being capped, seeded and planted with trees and bushes. The purpose of this work is to restore it to agricultural use, in accordance with the planning conditions laid down. The new mass burn incinerator as proposed would obviously significantly impact on what would be an adjacent open Green Belt area. “Would not materially injure the visual amenity of the Green Belt” – The proposed mass burn incinerator building as stated would be built on the very edge of the Trading Estate which is itself sited in the Green Belt. The boundary of the site abuts the landfill site now being restored to beneficial agricultural use or public open space. It is impossible to argue that this development sited where proposed would not have a severe visual detrimental impact. 4.4.69- 4.4.70 The applicant argues in these sections that there are demonstrably a number of circumstances/important considerations which provide very exceptional and even “very special” reasons to allow planning consent. 33 WAIL Ltd. We would contend that no important considerations or “very special” reasons have been proven to support the granting of such an application. In fact in earlier chapters the applicant has highlighted each of the reasons why it would not be appropriate for such a development and then sought to provide arguments as to why these reasons should be ignored. In virtually every case we have demonstrated that the reasons against such a development are sound and overriding. Arguments that they should be ignored are patently without foundation. In reality the bottom ash is likely to be disposed of in landfill sites as currently. The clear risk is that the favourable terms for disposal of this product in landfill will be removed and it will be subject to the same level of tax as everything else disposed of in this way. No allowance in the proposals has been made for the massive financial implications which such a change would bring about. PLANNING POLICY STATEMENT 10. 4.4.71- 4.4.75 According to PPS10, the decision making principles behind waste planning suggests that in many cases the waste management sector cannot wait until entire development plans are revised, due to the urgency of the need to deal with waste. Whilst this statement may well be correct there is obviously an underlying requirement to ensure such waste facilities ultimately provide the most acceptable solution. In saying that there may be a need to perhaps deal with waste management facilities with some urgency and under the guidelines of PPS10 it does not provide a basis for sacrificing other sound and sensible planning principles. 4.4.76- 4.4.77 The applicant argues that its proposal accords with PPS10 and thus fulfils the criteria as follows: “Moving the management of waste up the “waste hierarchy” and helping to implement the natural waste strategy and supporting targets”. The proposed mass burn incinerator is not a true combined heat and power plant (CHP) as there is no identified market for the heat produced. As such this plant is providing very inefficiently generated electricity only and is in fact very low down in the “waste hierarchy” providing no overarching benefits worthy of consideration as a key planning objective. Nor would such a facility materially contribute in anything like an efficient cost effective manner to the recovery of value from municipal waste as set out in Waste Strategy England 2007, as claimed. 4.4.78-4.4.82 “Provide a framework in which communities take more responsibility for their own waste and enable sufficient and timely provision of waste management facilities to meet the needs of their communities” – This particular planning objective has been completely misinterpreted. In essence the proposal for local communities to take responsibility for their own waste is laudable. However the suggestion that a 34 WAIL Ltd. “community” should comprise the entire population of two counties – Herefordshire and Worcestershire is not acceptable. How can this proposed plant in the north of Worcestershire be said to be serving the local needs of towns in the south of Herefordshire? For example the shortest route from, say, Ross-on- Wye to Hartlebury is 46 miles, but the distance would be much greater if motorways and “A” roads only were used, as would be the case with the large goods vehicles transporting the waste. In any event, how can the local community of Ross-on-Wye be taking more responsibility for their community’s waste by sending it at least 46 miles to Hartlebury? 4.4.83 A public inquiry into the incinerator proposed for the British Sugar Site in Kidderminster took place between the 19th February and the 27th March 2002. In his report issued on the 10th July 2002 the inspector Mr K G Smith BSc (Hons) MRTPI made reference to the location and commented as follows: Under paragraph 132 “Kidderminster is in Area 2 but even when considered in relation to this area the IWMF would not be very well related to the centre of the arisings. And when considered in relation to all of Herefordshire & Worcestershire, it is seen to lie in a relatively remote northern corner.” Under Paragraph 133 “These figures reveal that the Kidderminster location scores very poorly with regard to the proximity principle.” It is worth noting that the figures referred to in paragraph 133 are those calculated by the applicant MWM themselves. Since the Kidderminster application scored so badly it is unreasonable to assume that any plant located less than 4 miles away would result in a better score in relation to the proximity principle. Furthermore under this section the applicant seems to justify the location by stating that following a site search exercise it was concluded that the Hartlebury site was the “only” suitable site. There seems to be considerable confusion between “available” and “suitable”. Even if the Hartlebury site was the only one available it does not follow that this makes it suitable. For all of the reasons outlined in previous sections of our report and within this section the site proposed is quite clearly not suitable and no argument about others not being available can change this. 4.4.84 A detailed appraisal of the proposals in the context of Green Belt policy is provided under the following paragraphs 4.4.85 “Reflect the concerns and interests of communities, the need of waste collection authorities, waste disposal authorities and business and encourage competitiveness.” 35 WAIL Ltd. The applicant states that the proposed development would demonstrably meet the requirements of this policy principle and indicates the reasons why they believe this is to be the case. Before specifically dealing with items as detailed under the bullet points in this section we would comment as follows. This policy principle begins with the words “Reflect the concerns and interests of communities”. No attempt whatsoever has been made to specifically address the concerns in and around Hartlebury. These concerns are very real and once again we would refer you to the Inspector’s comments at the Kidderminster appeal and specifically paragraph 114. He comments on earlier paragraphs where concerns about emissions and the health effects are discussed, as follows: “Thus, it is clear to me, from the evidence at the inquiry and from the very many letters that I have read, that most – if not all – of the above factors which can exacerbate the public perception of risk apply in this case. I am satisfied that these concerns are genuine and are not simply the outcome of an orchestrated campaign: very many people in this area have a very real fear of what they see as the unknown health effects of the incinerator. This public perception of risk associated with the appeal process is a negative factor of some significance to place in the scales of the decision-making process.” These comments by the Inspector were made in the full acceptance of a sound EA permit being put in place. Little if anything has changed regarding the public perception of risk and no definitive evidence has been produced to categorically state that NO health effects exist. We would contend that this same level of significant concern should be considered as much now as it evidently was in 2002. With regard to the items detailed under each bullet point we would make the following comments. Once again there is a referral only to the fact that potential exists to provide a CHP solution. No detailed proposal exists for the use of the heat produced by this Mass Burn Incinerator. It does not therefore provide the effective solution which should be expected of a true CHP plant. The proposal in fact provides a very poor alternative diversion from landfill. It does not in any way achieve efficient waste recovery which would be much better provided by localised more modern technology such as Anaerobic Digestion. The proposal for this Mass Burn Incinerator effectively has a massive negative effect on the CO2 emissions for the whole of Worcestershire and Wychavon in particular. Modern coal fired power stations are likely to be fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage Systems, dramatically reducing their carbon emissions. This proposed Mass Burn Incinerator would be a massive producer of CO2 putting the County at risk of massive carbon taxes when the proposed European carbon tax is introduced. The cost of this carbon tax is nowhere included in the financial calculations related to the proposed development. Once again the applicant argues that the site is centrally located in relation to waste arisings, a fact clearly identified as incorrect in the 2002 public enquiry for a site less than 4 miles away. 36 WAIL Ltd. Our earlier arguments, together with our associated technical comments included within the “WAIL” Group submission documents, have clearly discounted the benefits to the Waste Disposal Authorities as put forward in this planning application. 4.4.86- 4.4.87 These paragraphs suggest that since the site is already in the ownership of Worcestershire County Council there are no restraints to prevent the proposal coming forward. Whilst the site is indeed in the ownership of the County Council this is the only positive aspect since there exist considerable constraints to the development proposed such as: 1) The site is in the Green Belt with a presumption against such a development. 2) The site is identified in the Wychavon Plan as a Major Developed Site in the Green Belt with specific restrictions regarding, infilling, building footprint and building height which are all being contravened by this proposal. 3) The site is burdened with Restrictive Covenants against nuisance and annoyance which are registered at the Land Registry as a charge on the County Council’s title deeds. Additionally the County Council has given an undertaking to indemnify the ultimate freeholder of this site against any breach of these covenants. Recent case law, in particular the case of Davies v. Dennis (2009) EWCA CIV 1081, establishes the existence of a building in itself was held to be in breach of this type of covenant. The proposed building, due to its sheer size and prominence would mean such a breach would be inevitable, rendering the County Council, and therefore its taxpayers, liable to considerable costs under the terms of the indemnity. 4.4.89 Once again this paragraph relies on comments which are made without any foundation. We have pointed out at length previously that no real proposal exists for the use of heat from this mass burn incinerator. At best the heat off-take remains no more than “potential” with little evidence that any substantial market for the heat will, in fact, be found. Similarly the suggestion that the bottom ash could be used in the immediate locality for brick or block production has no basis in fact and is at odds totally with other areas of the planning application where letters of intent are provided to say that facilities exist off site to treat this bottom ash. The truth is that so far little use has been made of bottom ash and even after it is treated there is compelling evidence to suggest that there is little market for such a product. In reality the bottom ash is likely to be disposed of in landfill sites as currently. The clear risk is that the favourable terms for disposal of this product in landfill will be removed and it will be subject to the same level of tax as everything else disposed of in this way. No allowance in the proposals has been made for the massive financial implications which such a change would bring about. 37 WAIL Ltd. 4.4.90 Neither of the statements made in this paragraph support the criteria set out in paragraph 21 of PPS10 which specifically are: i) assess their suitability for development against each of the following criteria:- “the extent to which they support the policies in this PPS”. We have detailed our arguments which, we believe, effectively demonstrate that the policies of PPS10 are not supported. “the physical and environmental constraints on development, including existing and proposed neighbouring land uses”. We have clearly shown that the applicants assertions in these respects are flawed. The proposals have a major detrimental effect on both existing and proposed neighbouring land uses. The building would be so prominent it would seriously affect views from within the Green Belt within which the building itself would be sited. The view from considerable distances around would be compromised, especially from areas which have remained protected and undisturbed to the extent proposed since medieval times. “The cumulative effect of previous waste disposal facilities on the well-being of the local community including any significant adverse impacts on environmental quality, social cohesion and inclusion or economic potential”. Hartlebury and the areas surrounding it has been the site for three landfill sites in previous years, one of which is still in operation and causing concern in the community. A further site at Waresley which is now being “capped” has been the source over the past two years of considerable distress to the local inhabitants. The EA has been heavily involved and there was a period of 6-9 months when the level of emissions was so high that it was “red-carded” by the EA and their officers were prohibited from entering the site. Even now as it is being restored there are considerable problems with escapes of leachate and much remedial work taking place. Clearly, the community feels that the cumulative effect of previous and ongoing problems should preclude it from having to bear this new proposed facility as allowed for under PPS10 paragraph 21. “The capacity of existing and potential transport infrastructure to support sustainable movement of waste, and products arising from resource recovery, seeking when practicable and beneficial to use modes other than road transport”. There is no possibility to use anything other than road transport. Taking this factor into account with the proposal’s poor score with regard to the proximity principle previously discussed, it is difficult to see how the criteria for this section in the PPS10 are met. ii) “Give priority to the re-use of previously developed land, and redundant agricultural and forestry buildings and their curtilages.” In every aspect this proposal does not accord with PPS10. The land is not previously used and there is a presumption against such development. No redundant and forestry buildings are existing on the proposed site. 38 WAIL Ltd. 4.4.91-4.4.96 None of the arguments put forward satisfactorily demonstrate that the proposal should be allowed. As it does not accord with so many principles it is our opinion that to allow such a development would be totally inappropriate. The applicant’s conclusion specifically under paragraph 4.4.96 is completely flawed in assuming compliance with PPS10. Each of our detailed submissions has demonstrated that there are no satisfactory planning grounds to allow this application to proceed. 4.4 Conclusion 4.4.1 – 4.4.2 Having regard to our comments above, we can find no justification whatsoever for this proposed development in the Green Belt. 39 WAIL Ltd. Part 4 Technical Report - Response to the Environmental Statement Section Comments 1.5.3 This section refers to the JMWMS published in 2004 and the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) as an essential requirement according to the Planning Inspector who refused the Kidderminster EfW proposal. The JMWMS was refreshed in 2009 and continued to support some form of thermal treatment. This study and analysis failed to give proper consideration to modern preferred methods of dealing with Municipal Biodegradable Waste. Further the study—as shown in annexe D of the JMWMS, entitled Residual Options Appraisal, prepared by ERM consultants—failed to consider Anaerobic Digestion of the BMW. Furthermore, this report is very similar in structure and content to the report appended to the planning application by Fichtner, entitled Residual Waste Treatment Options Appraisal. Who are the original authors of this report, Fichtner or ERM? In both cases, what we contend is the BPEO was overlooked or ignored by these consultants. Were they directed to omit this government-preferred and Defra-supported method of treatment? The BPEO also would be served by small “community” anaerobic digesters close to the source of waste production and therefore also satisfy the “Proximity Principle”. According to the waste model described by Fichtner in the above referenced report, 126,000 tonnes of the MSW is biodegradable and could be digested anaerobic ally with methane capture and EfW electricity generation. In addition, a soil conditioner and/or fertiliser is also produced. Such treatment is mentioned in the recent Coalition Government’s documentation as being strongly supported. Anaerobic digestion with greater front end recycling will give the best results from a Global Warming potential standpoint and completely avoid the emission of toxic materials and nano particles associated with waste incineration (problems acknowledged in this application). 1.5.6 The in-depth assessment was in fact flawed as it failed to give open and fair consideration to anaerobic digestion. This exercise should be repeated with inclusion of all methods. Furthermore, the preferred option, as stated in the conclusion of the assessment, would be a single EfW plant producing electricity and heat. However, as shown in section 5.4.22, heat off-take is not part of this planning application. The supportive reasoning behind an EfW with CHP is thereby also undermined. 3.1.1 Reference is made the Waste Strategy for England 2007. This document gives great support for anaerobic digestion including EfW, especially from food waste. This powerful support should not have been ignored and must be given fair consideration. Further down this section, MWM states that it does not intend to manage C&I waste, but in the unlikely event (sometime in the future) that there is insufficient MSW available then the plant could treat quantities of such waste. This is at direct odds with section 4.4.12 Waste tonnage composition table 10 page 14; waste arising 2014 (the start date of the proposed incinerator). Of the 200,000 tonnes of waste to be burnt, 29,080 tonnes of it is described as C&I. Such inconsistencies are repeated in the planning application and therefore challenge its veracity. Renewable energy can be derived from EfW plants treating biodegradable waste, but EfW is not limited to incineration. Within the references cited in the Waste Strategy for England 2007 as acknowledging renewable energy from waste, anaerobic digestion with methane capture and conversion is more strongly supported than incineration. 40 WAIL Ltd. 3.2.4 The JMWMS was refreshed in 2009 after originally concluding in 2004 that some form of thermal treatment would be required. Even after the County Council’s own advisory documents on climate change in Worcestershire and the Treatment of Biodegradable Waste by Biological methods discussed and supported anaerobic digestion and the Waste strategy for England 2007 also strongly supported anaerobic digestion, it was not given any consideration in the study of alternatives. Was this as a result of the WDA directive or the failure of the consultants to recognise the growing support for this method of treatment? EfW from anaerobic digestion is rapidly being adopted by other WDA in England. MWM insistence that EfW (incineration) conferred the BPEO could be considered biased and flawed. The Residual Options Appraisal July 2009 did not give consideration to anaerobic digestion, but did include 2 options for MBT. These were modelled on the ECODECO process of bio-drying and are inferior to the modern method of anaerobic digestion and EfW from methane. 3.2.6 The ranking of the options gave option B the highest score, which is the single incinerator with EfW AND CHP. Option A was found to be third. Option A is incineration with power generation only. 3.2.7 This proposal lays claim to Option B and its greater scoring. This is a falsehood. Section 5.4.11 of this report states that there are no substantive opportunities to export heat. Section 5.4.22 states that heat off-take is NOT part of this planning application. Section 4.14 of the Sustainability statement informs that 7361 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (eq) will be saved by the proposal. The Fichtner report on Residual Waste Treatment Options clearly shows that the option giving rise to the 7,361 tonnes of CO2 eq savings is the option of single site incineration with EfW power only (i.e. Option A) in section 5.2. Clearly the proposal in the application can NOT be considered as an EfW with CHP. It is in fact an incinerator with electricity generation only. As such it is not deserving of the support given by the WDA for a plant with combined heat and power generation. A further inconsistency has been identified between the Fichtner report mentioned above and the ERM report on Residual Waste treatment Options as referred to earlier in this response. Both reports are similar; both use the WRATE model for identifying environmental burden or benefit. Fichtner declare an environmental benefit from the EfW Power only option—which this application is based on—saving 7,361 tonnes CO2 eq. ERM declare an emission of 10,555 tonnes CO2 eq and an environmental burden. The small swing either way could have disastrous consequences on the carbon footprint. Fichtner declare that overall 170,000 tonnes of CO2 will be emitted and this is comprised two thirds from biodegradable waste but one third is from fossil fuel derived waste. This should not be burnt, as it release fossil fuel derived CO 2 and the energy generated is not renewable and therefore not sustainable. This will not qualify for ROC’s or RHI’s; in fact, it will offset the valuable energy derived from the biogenic carbon constituents. 3.2.10 The eight waste options considered appear to have been based on the initial assumptions in the 2004 JMWMS document and refreshed in 2009 by ERM. These options remain based on outdated technology and no account has been taken of the preferred option of anaerobic digestion or even greater segregation and recycling. This is against the Coalition Government’s recently announced policy of zero- waste. Further, the recent advances in anaerobic digestion and the adoption of this technology by WDAs in England have also been ignored. Current examples from which the Council should have considered include The Mayor of London’s coordinated collection and disposal policy, Selby renewable energy park and Newcastle under Lyme. The response to the WCS consultation also acknowledged growing support for AD. 41 WAIL Ltd. Policy 23 of the JMWMS should also be taken into account. Policy 23 “The Partnership will design and operate collection, transfer, associated transport and treatment systems to minimise the overall carbon emissions (including “waste miles”) arising from these elements of waste management activities and measured through Target One of the Strategy.” 3.2.12 & 3.2.13 The use of a bespoke process to evaluate the EnviRecover proposal does not create a consistent basis for comparing the eight options. It could be considered on careful reading that the documents were produced to support Option B rather than form a fair and balanced conclusion. 3.12.13 This report seems to claim that the proposal comprises an EfW plant with CHP. This proposal excludes heat off-take, so to claim the benefits for CHP is inaccurate and misleading. A comprehensive options study was not performed, as AD and increased recycling were not included. 3.2 15 to 3.2.24 This purports to be an analysis of alternative technologies, but it only considers different forms of direct combustion technologies. EfW is not synonymous with direct combustion. EfW as preferred by Defra can also be derived from Biogas from AD, for example. 3.2.29 The referred to EfW plant does not include heat off-take in this proposal. Ravensbank would indeed be a more appropriate site if heat utilisation could be included; however the overall need for an incinerator is not proven as other, better, safer and cheaper options exist. 3.2.31 Please refer to the planning statement response document. 5.3.12 NOx is produced from direct combustion processes. With alternative EfW processes, like AD, such emissions are completely avoided, with the Nitrogen being put to beneficial use as a fertiliser component. 5.3.33 Confirmation is required that the usage of 140 tonnes per annum of gas oil has been included in the carbon footprint calculation. Water is also used in the process; confirmation is required of the quantity. Entec reports that 135,000 tonnes will be consumed per annum. 5.4.1 According to the Fichtner model for 2014, 55% of the MSW ids biodegradable and would constitute a renewable source. PPS1 identifies as renewable only those descriptions as found in PPS22, i.e. EfW is not renewable unless from biogenic origin. Low carbon is identified as EfW with CHP. The proposal from MWM excludes Heat in this application. Again, some attempts to cloud the issue are evident. 5.4.5 Clarification is requested into R1 Calculation variables, as heat utilisation is not part of this application. Accordingly, this efficiency calculation is not valid and the efficiency will be below the threshold level for compliance with the WFD. 5.4.11 There is no substantive heat export potential. 5.4.13 The land identified is no longer part of the Strategic housing land assessment under the SWJCS. 5.4.22 Heat off-take is not part of the current planning application and therefore this proposal is NOT a combined Heat and Power plant (CHP), even though much of the analysis within this application is based on the potential of CHP. As such, significant arguments within this application referring to CHP are not valid and irrelevant. 42 WAIL Ltd. 5.4.25 This application cites several permissions granted on the basis of councils demonstrating feasibility and commercial viability of exporting heat after conditional permission was granted but before operations commenced. This application states that there are no substantive uses for the heat and therefore conditional permission—in contrast with the above cases—should not be granted. 5.7.1 There is no demonstrable need for this type of plant. The need is to divert MSW from landfill and especially to divert BSW from landfill and to recover energy from the biodegradable fraction. The best practicable environmental option for doing this is through separate collections (like Wychavon) and anaerobic digestion with biogas-fuelled electricity generation or direct use of the biogas as a fuel. 5.7.2 Doc 008: EfW: Planning Application - Part 3: Planning Statement - Appendix 2.1: Waste Projections The projections predict no growth in EnviRecover recycling capacity; these are stuck at 200K tonnes for 25 years. The projected growth in overall municipal waste generated also assumes that there will be no substantive progress over 25 years. The maximum recycling potential is pegged at an unimpressive 59%, even in 2034. Residual waste totals are also assumed to continue growing. Taken as a whole, these projections assume a failure of future efforts towards much higher recycling and lower overall waste generation, based on a zero-waste principle. Yet several cities in Europe and the USA already achieve recycling rates in excess of 75%. Why are the two counties’ targets in this area so unambitious? 5.7.4 MWM state that it is not their intention to manage C&I waste, but, in the unlikely event (sometime in the future) that there is insufficient MSW available, then the plant could treat quantities of such waste. This is at direct odds with section 4.4.12 Waste tonnage composition table 10 page 14; waste arising 2014 (the start date of the proposed incinerator). Of the 200,000 tonnes of waste to be burnt, 29,080 tonnes of it is described as C&I. Such inconsistencies are repeated in the planning application and therefore challenge its veracity. 5.7.5 The composition of the waste is also a point of conjecture. The black bin waste contains a large quantity of material that would be best treated by recycling. Much is made of the ability of the incinerator to burn a varying and flexible composition of MSW according to the Fichtner Options report, but it clearly states in the Environmental Statement Main Report that the preferred range lies within quite narrow boundaries due to the effect on the calorific value. Both statements cannot be true and this will either cause problems when recycling inevitably is increased or worse lock the county in for 25 years with no opportunities for increased recycling. This could have punitive effects if Government action demands greater recycling. Already waste collection authorities are being encouraged by Government papers to collect kitchen waste separately (for treatment ultimately by anaerobic digestion and CHP of the clean Methane produced.) The black bin waste volume collected by Wychavon is decreasing rapidly as more food waste is diverted to composting (IVC) and more materials are designated as recyclable. The Mercia proposal is a truly backwards step. Mass burn incineration is not sustainable and the renewable energy comes at a very high cost in terms of financial and environmental consequences. The same amount of ROC’s and RHI could be obtained far more cheaply and with greater environmental benefits through AD of the BSW. Further, the recyclables extracted from the black bin will have recoverable value for the County and its tax payers. For example, the market prices of recoverable metals have risen by many hundreds of percentage points in recent years. 43 WAIL Ltd. 5.7.9 This paragraph seeks to gain a free hand on tonnage throughput free from planning consent restrictions or conditions. This is unacceptable. After a gate fee is fixed, any subsequent increase in throughput—through the inevitable and mandated increase in recycling—will allow MWM to increase profits at the expense of the two Counties. 5.8.17 As the clay extracted from the void is planned to be put to commercial use via Wienerberger, does this require a new permit for mineral extraction? Will this be subject to separate extraction permits? 6.2.4 Please refer to the Planning Statement objections. There is no demonstrable need for this type of development. 7.3.1 B2/B8 development is described as being already accepted as there are part implemented permissions. However, the use definitions referred to would not allow the present proposal. “B2 General industrial - Use for industrial process other than one falling within class B1 (excluding incineration purposes, chemical treatment or landfill or hazardous waste). B8 Storage or distribution - This class includes open air storage.” 7.4.13 Waste product exported is reported as 43,200 tonnes of Bottom ash and metals however the Fichtner report shows 35,300 tonnes Bottom Ash is produced based on the WRATE model. This is another inconsistency and throws doubt upon the accuracy of modelled and calculated outputs. This also throws doubt upon the accuracy of predicted CO2 emissions, yet these are critical to the carbon reduction commitments made by Councils. This proposal has no demonstrable need and does not have consistent scientific reasoning to satisfy the required level of confidence and is also contra to the precautionary principle. If an overestimate has been made for bottom ash in order to be robust about transport emissions, why haven’t the APC residues also been overestimated? 8.1.5 The statement is difficult to reconcile with the building dimensions set out in 8.1.6. The main building is more than 20 meters higher than any other building on the trading estate and the chimney is 60 meters higher. 8.1.14 This proposal would constitute a major intrusion on surrounding visual receptors resulting in dramatic detraction from the visual amenities of the Green Belt. 8.3.2 Again, the statement is difficult to reconcile with the building dimensions set out in 8.1.6. The main building is more than 20 meters higher than any other building on the trading estate and the chimney is 60 meters higher. 8.4.8 The edge of Kidderminster is 4.6 km from the site, not “some 5 km” as stated in the application. 8.5.25 The proposed development is totally out of keeping with the nature of the Green Belt and its restrictions including covenants. 8.5.26 A major impact will affect Waresley park residents as they walk and travel every day in all key quality of life parameters, visual, noise, odour and traffic. 44 WAIL Ltd. 8.4.44 Due to the language used and the description inferred this proposal would seem prima face to have a neutral effect. This, however, is greatly contested and the suggestion is made that this be referred to GOWM for comment on topography and visual receptors and their likely affect. 8.4.57 The chimney would have a significant impact on views from Hartlebury Castle (Grade I listed and site of Worcestershire County Museum) and Hartlebury Common (Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest) and detract from these amenities. 8.5.49 - 8.6.6 This is completely disputed. The proposed development is massive and will have a major visual impact on the Green Belt. This development is also contra to the Green Belt restriction, Wychavon Local Plan and there is no demonstrable need for this type of facility. 9.0 Inadequate survey work has been undertaken to inform a reliable assessment of the ecological impacts of the development on great crested newt and noctule bat, which are both legally protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. Great crested newt Section 5.2 of Natural England’s great crested newt mitigation guidelines lists three key indicators that should inform whether a great crested newt survey should be undertaken as follows: 1) Any historical records for great crested newts on the site, or in the general area. 2) A pond on or near the site (within around 500m), even if it holds water only seasonally. 3) Sites with refuges (such as piles of logs or rubble), grassland, scrub, woodland or hedgerows within 500m of a pond The proposed development site clearly triggers all three indicators as follows: 1) There are several breeding records of GCN within 1km (Table 9.5 of ES); 2) Nine ponds occur within 500m (the closest at c.20m); and 3) The site contains ‘high quality terrestrial habitat, with good cover for amphibians’ (Paragraph 9.3.24 of Environmental Statement) The Ecology Chapter fails to consider (or even mention) the majority of ponds within 500m of the site, making reference only to a small watercourse within the site and the closest pond immediately to the north. With reference to OS maps and the ‘site plan’ available for download on Mercia EnviRecover’s website1, there are at least nine ponds within 500m of the development site, not including several transient waterbodies within the adjacent landfill site. 1 Site plan illustrating ponds accessed online at http://www.envirecover.co.uk/what.htm 45 WAIL Ltd. The lack of consideration of the ponds within this radius is a critical flaw in the assessment approach, particularly because it is established that the site contains high quality terrestrial habitat for amphibians, which could reasonably attract great crested newts using ponds several hundred metres away. Two field ponds occur at a distance of approximately 270m north-east of the site (GR SO 863 700). These ponds are within 350m of a known great crested newt breeding pond to the north-east which would suggest that they have significant potential to be used by this species. A population of great crested newts could use these ponds, in which case they would be likely to use the high quality terrestrial habitat within the development site for foraging and hibernation. Ponds effectively surround the site, giving further potential for the site to be used as a dispersal route by great crested newt, which does not appear to have been considered within the assessment. For example, ponds occur within 300m to the west (SO 855 699), north-west (SO 856 701), north-east (SO 863 700), south-east (SO 862 697) and south-west (SO 857 695) of the site. There is potential for this pond cluster to support a metapopulation of great crested newts, which could use habitats within the proposed development site for dispersal between ponds. Chapter 9 includes a risk assessment of the settling pond on the adjacent landfill site for great crested newts, concluding that the pond offers poor habitat largely due the presence of fish. However, whilst the presence of fish does reduce suitability for GCN the Natural England mitigation guidelines state that: ‘ponds should not be excluded simply because they appear superficially unsuitable… ponds containing fish should not always be disregarded as newt habitat’; and ‘ponds not used by great crested newts for breeding can still be of importance for the population as they may support prey’ Therefore, whilst predatory fish reduce the likelihood of GCN breeding, the pond may still be used for foraging by GCN that breed within other ponds within 500m. The presence of a pond used by GCN for foraging immediately adjacent to the site would further increase the likelihood that this species uses the high quality terrestrial habitat at the site. A survey visit to the adjacent settlement pond was undertaken in May 2009 (paragraph 9.2.10) to search for amphibians, indicating that the project ecologists must consider the pond to have some suitability for these species. Whilst this single visit found no great crested newts it is important to note that no value can be attributed to this finding, because the survey methods fall far short of the minimum standards required by Natural England to demonstrate absence of great crested newt. In summary, the above points clearly demonstrate that the statement within paragraph 9.3.24 that ‘the nearest known breeding pond is over 500m away from the site, so the risk of occurrence is likely to be negligible’ is incorrect. Any site containing high quality terrestrial habitat for amphibians that is surrounded by numerous ponds has a reasonable likelihood of being used by great crested newts during their terrestrial phase. The conclusion that an absence of breeding records of great crested newt within 500m equates to an absence of this species using the site, with no survey evidence to support this statement, is fundamentally incorrect. It is quite clear that a presence/absence survey of local ponds for great crested newt compliant with Natural England guidelines is required to understand whether this legally protected species will be impacted by the development proposals. The LPA’s scoping opinion does not request a survey for great crested newt. However, it should be noted that the scoping report submitted by the developer makes no 46 WAIL Ltd. mention of the numerous ponds within 500m of the site. Assuming that WCC and other nature conservation consultees have based their scoping opinion on this incomplete information, it is not surprising that a survey has not been requested. I urge the LPA to reconsider the appropriateness of the approach to the assessment of impacts on great crested newts in light of this additional information. Noctule bat Chapter 9 states that ‘a noctule bat roost in Middle Covert has been identified as the key protected species interest of the locality’ and this roost is assessed within the Chapter as being of ecological value at the County level. This roost is thought to occur somewhere within the woodland of Middle Covert, located immediately adjacent to the east of the development site. Table 9.14 of the report identifies potentially significant effects to noctule bat through noise disturbance, microclimatic changes and loss of vegetation along the bat commuting routes. It is therefore established that potential impacts to noctule bats are a likely significant impact of the development in the absence of appropriate mitigation. However, given the large scale of the development close to a significant noctule roost, it is essential that the location of this roost be established in order to formulate a suitable mitigation approach. The current impact assessment and mitigation approach is based on guesswork, which is simply not good enough for this scale and type of development. With no information on the size or location of roost, how can the conclusion given within paragraph 9.6.1 of Chapter 9 that the mitigation measures would ‘avoid any potential impacts’ to the noctule bat roost possibly be made? The error in this statement is best illustrated by way of example; the new incinerator building will be approximately 35m in height, with a chimney stack 80m tall and thus it will block sunlight from the west and south-west into Middle Covert. Bat maternity roosts often rely on the warmth from the sun and if the roost is within a tree that will become more shaded by the development, it may no longer maintain a sufficient temperature to support bats and the roost could be abandoned. The above represents just one of several scenarios (e.g. noise, lighting, obstruction of flight paths) demonstrating that the impacts of development upon noctule bat cannot be assessed until the exact location of the roost is identified. This roost could potentially represent the most important noctule bat roost within the county, or even within the country, and no conclusions can be made about potential impacts or mitigation until survey data on the roost is collected and considered. The bat survey work that has been conducted within the development site found that up to 14 noctule bats use the site as a commuting route to their roost within Middle Covert. The bats fly south-east across open parts of the site that will be obstructed by the proposed incinerator building. The Bat Activity Survey report within Appendix 9.2 of the ES states that noctule are ‘high-flying bats compared to other species such as common pipistrelle and are less reliant on landscape features such as hedgelines and field boundaries for flight lines’, yet the mitigation that is claimed will result in no potential impacts to noctules is to retain ‘scrub along the northern boundary…which would maintain good habitat connectivity for foraging and commuting bats’ (paragraph 9.5.2). These statements are contradictory; it is clear that the proposed extent and layout of the incinerator including only the retention of boundary vegetation will have a significant effect on noctules commuting across the site to their roost and it is misleading for Chapter 9 to conclude otherwise. 47 WAIL Ltd. Furthermore, it is rather incredible that the Chapter completely fails to mention the impact of lighting on bats. New artificial lighting associated with the incinerator has significant potential to disrupt local bat populations and this issue does not appear to have been given due consideration. Conclusions The main aim of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 is to ensure that the competent authority for a particular project, i.e. Worcestershire County Council (WCC), makes its decision in the knowledge of any likely significant effects on the environment. Chapter 9 acknowledges that there is a potentially significant effect of the project on noctule bat, but fails to provide any information on the roost to be impacted with which to judge the significance of the effect or inform whether adequate mitigation is possible. Furthermore, no surveys for great crested newt have been undertaken, despite currently accepted standard methods unequivocally indicating that they should be carried out. The potential for a likely significant effect on great crested newt has not been properly considered. A decision made by WCC on the basis of the current ecological survey information would not be made in the knowledge of all likely significant effects on ecological features, and any decision would therefore not be in accordance with the EIA Regulations or the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management’s Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment. Noctule and great crested newt are legally protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, which implements EC Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Planning authorities are a competent authority under Regulation 7(1) and they must have regard to the requirements of the Habitats Directive in exercising any of their functions, under Regulation 9(5). The recent case of R (on the application of Simon Woolley) v Cheshire East Borough Council clarified that the Local Planning Authority has a legal duty to consider the three derogation tests within the Habitats Directive when deciding whether to grant planning permission for a development that could harm an European Protected Species. This includes that “The action authorised will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range” (Regulation 53(9)(b)). For the reasons detailed herein it is clear that the current ecological survey evidence does not allow the LPA to consider likely significant effects on noctule bat or great crested newt, nor to be certain that the development will maintain the favourable conservation status of these species. 12.0 Noise and Vibration in the Green Belt. This proposal is totally out of keeping with the Green Belt and should be refused on grounds of size, annoyance and intrusion, and being contrary to local plans and covenants. In particular, there is no demonstrable need for this type of plant. 13.2.26 Stack emissions: The emission and modelling data provided shows that various toxic materials are emitted and give an assurance that these will be within safe limits and not harmful to human health and will be monitored by the EA. The Stockholm Convention and the Precautionary Principle should govern here, because there are no known levels at which dioxin and PM 10s and 2.5s are safe. For example, chlorinated dioxins are widespread global pollutants, extremely toxic and accordingly listed in 48 WAIL Ltd. Annex III of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. There is no demonstrable need for this plant and all emissions could therefore be avoided by selection of a more appropriate technology. Greenhouse gas emissions can be considered as above. The proposed plant will emit 170,000 tonnes of CO2, yet the WRATE analysis referred to by Fichtner declares a 7361 tonnes per year saving of CO2 eq. The ERM model declares a net emission of 10,555 tonnes using the WRATE software. Such confusion and inconsistencies are inappropriate for such an important planning application. It is imperative that these calculations be provided for careful scrutiny and not be taken at face value. The waste calorific value and tonnage together with the stated energy capture suggests a higher proportion of CO2 would actually be emitted. We calculate that an amount closer to 212,000 tonnes would be produced in reality, agreeing more closely with the ERM Model. MWM claim in the planning application that their scheme would result in net savings of 7,361 tonnes per annum of CO2 equivalent when operational against not installing it. Benefits from diversion from landfill are not included. This EfW plant will export 360,000,000 MJ of energy to the grid. This is 100,000,000 kWh electricity net export. To do this CO2 will be released from the plant as stated in the application will be: Biogenic (from renewable sources) 106,565,403 kg or 106,000 tonnes Fosil 60,918,949 kg or 61,000 tonnes TOTAL 167,484,352 kg or 167,000 tonnes Reference is made to POSTNOTE Number 268 October 2006 from The Parliamentary office of Science and Technology. The table below shows published lifecycle carbon footprint data. 49 WAIL Ltd. The fuel mix described by Fichtner for use in comparison tables is shown on page 15 of the options report attached to the planning application, as 48% coal and 52% gas. Using the table below the total Carbon footprint for this fuel mix can be calculated. Coal 48% of 800g CO2 per kWh, Gas 52% 0f 400g CO2 per kWh. Footprint per kWh of Electricity at the grid is 592g CO2 per kWh. Or 0.592Kg per kWh. This is in close agreement with DEFRA /DECC conversion factors for company reporting guidelines 2009. To generate 100,000,000 kWh for grid net export only 59,200 tonnes of CO2 would be emitted from the current generating mix for the total life cycle carbon footprint. MWM proposal releases 167,000 tonnes of CO2 Even if the biogenic CO2 is ignored the fossil CO2 is reported to be 61,000 tonnes and this is disputed as it does not include the collection of waste. The associated carbon footprint for collection and delivery has not been added and will be a significant amount. Further the extra footprint of steel making, delivery fabrication and assembly as well as earth removal and pilings must be added and consequently the numbers provided by MWM are strongly disputed. Conclusions 1 Grid production of the same quantity of electricity as proposed by MWM will create a Carbon footprint 2,000 tonnes lower than the Fossil derived waste emissions of CO2. 50 WAIL Ltd. 2 The claimed 7,361 tonnes of savings in CO2 eq are not possible and can not be realised in practice. 167,000 tonnes of CO2 will actually be released together with avoidable ash and pollutants. In addition to the released 61,000 tonnes of fossil derived CO2, the extra footprint of steel making, delivery fabrication and assembly as well as earth removal and pilings will dramatically increase the carbon footprint. The WRATE model and scaling employed by MWM is therefore inappropriate for this proposal and detailed further work must be submitted. 3 Generation of electricity from the proposed EfW plant will not offset Fossil derived electricity but will release more CO2 even if the biogenic fraction is ignored. 4 By 2014 there will also be greater carbon capture from power stations. This dynamic will further reduce the carbon footprint of power stations and leave the MWM proposal vastly in excess. 5 Should Biomass from anaerobic digestion be considered as fuel for EfW from biodegradable sources (such as the 126,000 tonnes contained within the MSW) then a net environmental benefit of - 200g CO2 / kWh will be achieved according to POST. The net Carbon footprint would be 20,000 tonnes SAVING over UK grid production. This must be given further consideration. 6 The MWM proposal pulls in the opposite direction to the Carbon Reduction Commitments made by WCC. NOx emissions are also noted but could be completely avoided by choice of a more preferred treatment option. Nitrogenous fertiliser could indeed be produced as a bi-product, enabling valuable agricultural use instead of increased air pollution. Anaerobic digestion was not one of the options considered but would score highly in the criteria measured within the Residual Treatment Options report if fairly considered. 14.0 Human health. The proposed plant scored very badly in the individual category of human toxicity in the Options report. In fact, all incineration options showed an environmental burden and increased human toxicity. Any such increase, however small, fundamentally should NOT be tolerated when alternatives exist with far lower human toxicity. Not only is there no demonstrable need for this particular scheme, but there are strong, precautionary and demonstrable reasons why it must not be allowed on health grounds. 15.3.5 Conservation Area The assertion that “There are no Conservation Areas within a 2km radius of the development site” is incorrect. The western boundary of the incinerator site is 1.82km from the southeastern boundary of Hartlebury Conservation Area (HCA). Therefore, a 180metre swathe of the HCA does lie within 2km of the site. Even using the centre of the proposed site as the datum point, the southeastern edge of the HCA is 1.93 km distant. The new boundaries under discussion for the HCA will not change in the SE corner, so it will still be within a 2km radius after any boundary changes. Therefore, the Environmental Statement is deficient in not taking this into account. 51 WAIL Ltd. Furthermore, Worcestershire County Museum and Hartlebury Castle (a Grade I listed building) are only 2.5km from the proposed site and the entire historic centre of Hartlebury, with its many buildings of architectural and local historical significance, lies within 2.3km. To underline the perceived value of the HCA in this part of Worcestershire, we note that Wychavon District Council is currently conducting a consultation exercise over a proposal to extend the HCA to cover a wider area of the locality. If the proposed incinerator is built, it will inevitably have a seriously detrimental impact on the HCA. 52 WAIL Ltd. Part 5 Summary We consider we have conclusively shown from our objections that the application for planning permission for an incinerator at Hartlebury Trading Estate should not be granted. We summarise our objections as follows:- 1. There is a presumption against development in the Green Belt, especially of this type. 2. The applicant has admitted that the proposed development is “inappropriate” for the Green Belt and has not demonstrated “very special circumstances” that it should be built in this location. 3. The proposed building would be massive, at least 3 times the height of any other building on the Trading Estate, with a huge chimney stack between 70 – 90 metres high, which would totally dominate the area and destroy the visual amenity and openness of the Green Belt. 4. This proposal breaches the Wychavon District Local Plan adopted in 2006 and the Green Belt restrictions imposed for this site, especially those in relation to the height and footprint of the proposed building and chimney stack. 5. The Wychavon District Local Plan 2006 and the Green Belt restrictions were put in place to regularise the position regarding planning applicants / developments on the Trading Estate made as representations and relied upon by the public and businesses in making decisions to acquire residential and commercial properties in the area who would suffer loss as a result of this proposal. 6. The proposed building and chimney stack and the excessive operations would constitute a public nuisance at common law and by statute. 7. The proposal would be in breach of the Restrictive Covenants contained in the Conveyance dated 10th September 1980 and made between (1) The Secretary of State for Defence and (2) Lansdown Estates (Hartlebury) Limited imposed to protect the surrounding area from nuisance damage or annoyance and are binding on Worcestershire County Council as the long leasehold owner of the site, the freehold owner of the Trading Estate and the other owners/occupiers for the time being of the Trading Estate. 8. Notwithstanding the proposed operation of the incinerator, the proposed building and chimney stack would themselves constitute a nuisance and/or an annoyance following the recent Court of Appeal decision in the case of Davies v Dennis and Others (2009) EWCA Civ 1081. 9. The selection process for this site in the reports submitted by the applicant is that there are other alternative sites which have been identified and are not in the Green Belt and certain other sites have been dismissed on the grounds of Restrictive Covenants which also applies to the Hartlebury site as stated above where the covenants are more onerous than on other such sites. 10. The plant, if built, would operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, every day of the year, inevitably creating noise and disturbance in what is predominately a peaceful, rural environment. 11. No planning conditions would in any way mitigate the sheer size and scale of this development nor reduce its impact on the visual amenity and openness of the Green Belt. 12. The proposed incinerator would be sited at the northern extreme of both Counties of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, meaning waste would need to be transported considerable distances, contrary to the proximity principle which requires waste arisings to be dealt with locally. 13. This proposal breaches Herefordshire’s own Unitary Plan which states that Herefordshire waste should be treated within that County. 14. The substantial movement of large numbers of heavy goods vehicles transporting waste across the full length of both Counties will seriously damage the carbon footprint and the environment. 15. The proposed incinerator would generate large volumes of toxic ash which would still need to be disposed of in landfill sites with the nearby sites at Waresley/Hartlebury being unavailable or inappropriate for such disposal. 53 WAIL Ltd. 16. The plant would release toxic particulates which a DEFRA report in 2010 states have no safe health minimum levels. The emissions would adversely affect air quality which cannot be mitigated by the inclusion of an enormous chimney which should not be allowed in any event having regard to the existing planning restrictions. 17. There is strong evidence that this process is harmful to health. The applicant is unable to produce any conclusive evidence that this is not the case and any planning decision must err on the side of caution and not in any circumstances put the public at risk. 18. The proposed incinerator would suppress recycling rates by destroying valuable resources. 19. This scheme, if adopted, reduces the flexibility to bring forward any emerging technology for waste disposal for at least 25 years. 20. Compared to alternative technologies, e.g. anaerobic digestion, this incinerator would generate a huge carbon footprint at a time when Worcestershire County Council has agreed to adopt an ambitious carbon reduction plan. 21. Other areas in the UK and worldwide are working towards Zero Waste Strategy; this proposal is an impediment of necessary positive strategies in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and elsewhere. 22. This proposal would involve a very high cost to Council Tax payers to implement this scheme compared to already available alternatives. 23. This application should not, in any event, be considered prior to the adoption of the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy and Waste Core Strategy by Worcestershire County Council. 24. There are three landfill sites in the vicinity either completed, unavailable or inappropriate for this proposal. Hartlebury and its environs, where many waste related problems have already been experienced, have already taken more than their fair share of responsibility for waste disposal. This proposal could lead to further public unrest and a potential breach of the peace – enough is enough. 25. Serious and substantial reductions in property values are being experienced in the area both in relation to residential and commercial properties under the threat of this proposal. 26. Worcestershire County Council is acting in its capacity as Planning Authority and owner of the site and there is a clear conflict of interests. The exclusive Private Finance Initiative (PFI) Contract involves a huge cost involving capital repayments and processing charges which can be calculated together to exceed £500,000,000.00 to be financed out of Council Tax payers money at least over 25 years. The County Council has already spent £4,500,000.00 to purchase this site in 2007 and along with Herefordshire County Council has agreed to subsidise the applicant’s costs in the sum of £1,400,000.00 if the applicant has to be withdrawn. The County Council inevitably has a vested financial interest in this application – can it be fair and impartial? Having regard to all of the above, we are unable to envisage how the County Council, acting in its capacity as the Planning Authority or otherwise, can possibly consider granting planning permission for the application where the evidence as outlined in these our submissions is overwhelmingly and conclusively against this. However, if for some reason which we cannot see, the County Council is minded to grant this application, then, having regard to the Town & Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2009, this application should be called in by the Secretary of State for Local Government under Section 77 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990. 54 WAIL Ltd. OBJECTION TO PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF AN ENERGY FROM WASTE FACILITY (MASS BURN INCINERATOR) ON LAND AT H600 HARTLEBURY TRADING ESTATE, HARTLEBURY, WORCESTERSHIRE Planning Application No: 10/000032 Registered Office: Station House, Station Road, Hartlebury, Worcestershire, DY10 4HA. Registered in England No: 7171644. WAIL is a trading style of WAIL Ltd 55 WAIL Ltd.
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