Monday, 28 July 2008

The meeting at Restormel

I was privileged to be able to play my part in last Tuesday's meeting of Restormel's Full Council, when councillors voted to unanimously object to the proposal to build an incinerator near St Dennis.

The Planning Officers' report had recommended objection on three grounds (i) that the 'site selection process had failed to consider more appropriate sites,' (ii) that 'the proposal would harm the countryside through the loss of agricultural land and hedgerows' and (iii) 'the scale, massing and height' of the development would harm the setting of St Dennis and Treviscoe.' An update sheet presented at the meeting added a fourth reason for objection that the development would 'harm the landscape character and wider setting of both Grade II listed buildings in the vicinity.'

The first two hours of the meeting were taken up with representations from members of the public and a single statement delivered on behalf of the applicant, which was followed by statements from councillors who had to lodge prejuducial interests (for representing their local communities!) and could not take part in the actual debate such as Fred Greenslade and John Wood.

All councillors who then spoke backed the protestors and raised a number of concerns about the application. St Columb councillor Pat Harvey proposed the officers' recommendation for objection, with the additions that a copy of the objection be sent to the Government Office of the South West and that Restormel lobbies Cornwall County Council to allow their local Restormel councillors to speak directly to the Planning Committee meeting that will make the decision later this year.

Other councillors made it clear that Restormel needed to re-affirm its long-standing commitment to a public inquiry should the County Council be minded to approve the application.

When I spoke I urged the Council to go much further and persuaded the councillors to agree a much more comprehensive set of objections. My objections included traffic concerns; worries about emissions and the impact on local health and the local environment; the adverse impact on local communities through noise, smell, dust and light pollution as well as the adverse effect on the nearby Special Areas of Conservation.

I also proposed that Restormel reaffirm its opposition to a centralised approach to waste management and a single incinerator in Mid Cornwall, stating that waste should be dealt with as close as possible to where it arises, and adding that the proposal did not comply with a wide range of policies such as the Waste Hierarchy, the National Waste Strategy and Planning Policy Statement 1 and its supplement on Climate Change.

It is clear to me that we need a well-thought-out and sustainable approach to waste management - not a massive waste-hungry incinerator in the heart of the China Clay Area.

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