MP wades into row over liquid waste

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BICESTER MP Sir Tony Baldry has waded into the row over liquid waste at the Ardley Quarry landfill site.

Last week we reported local concerns that the site’s operator, Viridor, has applied for planning permission to continue importing waste liquid from landfill sites, known as leachate, for treatment at Ardley.

Viridor was given planning permission two years ago to build an energy-from-waste incinerator at Ardley, after a public inquiry.

But after hearing evidence at the inquiry, the inspector imposed a condition that Viridor should stop importing leachate to the treatment works once the burners were up and running.

Leachate is a liquid generated by waste and landfill, which is then treated and pumped into the sewage system.

Local residents and parish councils told the inquiry the leachate caused a gel-like substance to build up in the sewage system and had caused flooding in the neighbouring village of Bucknell at various times in the past 10 years.

Now Sir Tony has written to Secretary of State Eric Pickles asking for the planning application by Viridor to be ‘called in’.

In his letter, he said: “Local residents are concerned that if Viridor is allowed to continue to treat leachate at Ardley, it makes something of a mockery of the public inquiry only two years ago – that it would increase the risk of flooding and will mean even more lorries going to and from the site.

“Under the rules, in the first instance, I understand that this application by Viridor is a matter to be determined by the county council as the local planning authority.

“However, given that Viridor are appealing specifically against a condition imposed by an inspector appointed by you, can I submit that in all the circumstances, this is an application that should be ‘called in’ by you to determine, otherwise what was the point of you on the advice of your inspector, imposing a condition which could simply then be overturned subsequently without reference to you by the local authority?”

A Viridor spokesman said: “We are seeking to change a planning condition relating to operations which have been taken place on site without any impact for many years now and which provide an essential service in the region. We believe it is the role of the local waste planning authority to determine applications for such changes, and in this case the relevant local authority is Oxfordshire County Council.”

The planning application is due to be determined on Monday, July 9.