Delay for decision over incinerator

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a waste incinerator near Calvert face more uncertainty after a key decision was deferred on Tuesday.

Bucks County Council’s development control committee was due to make a ruling on Waste Recycling Group’s bid to build a 300,000-tonne-per-year waste incinerator at Greatmoor Farm near Calvert.

Conference facilities were booked at the Stoke Mandeville Olympic Lodge to accomodate the large number of people expected.

But after five hours of discussion and submissions, committee members decided they could not proceed until the publication of a Government report later this year.

The county council’s new minerals and waste core strategy is due to be examined by a Government planning inspector later this month, but a report will not be published until the autumn.

John Beckerleg, spokesman for campaign group Stop Aylesbury Vale Incineration (SAVI), said: “In some ways SAVI is pleased the decision was deferred, but we would have been more pleased if the incinerator was refused outright.”

He said SAVI does not believe there is a need for a waste incinerator at Calvert, and said members have concerns over the impact on rare species and the local environment, as well as long-term damage to residents’ health.

Bucks County Council planning officers say an incinerator is needed to help dispose of the county’s non-recyclable waste and avoid costly EU landfill tax charges, and have judged the potentiallocal impact to be acceptable.

Mr Beckerleg said the council’s proposed new strategy effectively endorsed the building of an incinerator, adding: “The inspector will have to rule on whether the strategy is sound.

“If it is sound, then we can expect the county council to make a decision. If not, I don’t know what they’ll do.”

But he said SAVI would continue to campaign against the proposals within the council’s new waste strategy.

WRG responded to the decision in a statement: “We recognise that members of the development control committee had concerns but we believe that they did not take note of the information that was before them.

“This deferral will represent a significant delay in bringing forward the considerable economic and environmental benefits that the Greatmoor EfW scheme represents.”

Committee members had heard submissions from opponents, supporters, parish councillors, county councillor Michael Edmonds, and WRG director John Plant.

Councillor Edmonds has voiced his opposition to the scheme, as has Buckingham MP John Bercow.

Jackie Phipps, AVDC councillor for the Marsh Gibbon ward also spoke at the meeting.

She told the Advertiser and Review a planned new access road for construction traffic to the site may now not go ahead, which meant traffic could end up going through Calvert.

She said: “This is the best way forward. I think the officers were jumping the gun a bit by bringing it to committee before the waste core strategy was approved.”