Update and Christmas Tidings

We were hoping to have some news for you by now on how the request for a Planning Inquiry is progressing.

The only information we can give you is that:

  • They received over 600 letters requesting call-in.
  • The Secretary of State’s “target date” for a decision upon whether or not to call in the Allerton Park decision came and went.
  • The Secretary of State’s Office have been in contact with NYCC. They have sent something called an “Article 25 Holding Direction”. This, it seems, is a device that enables them to extend the twenty-one day deadline from the date of their acknowledgement of their receipt of the necessary papers from NYCC. In effect, it means that they still haven’t decided and that their decision will be (in their words) “weeks rather than months” after that.

This is similar to what has happened regarding the King’s Lynn incinerator. There, the Planning Committee voted to approve the application in late April this year, the Secretary of State issued a “holding direction” and ultimately let them know in the late summer that he was after all intending to call it in.

We will let you know as soon as we have any more information.

Thanks to all of you who have given such strong support to the campaign over the past (and previous) year. We remain convinced that the proposed incinerator is a monstrous and unnecessary intrusion and a complete waste of council money which could be much better spent on council services. We will continue to make representations to the Secretary of State and to other Government bodies and, with your help, we will fight to make sure that it does not get built.

Also, we are tremendously indebted to the team of fundraisers and helpers who have run the jumble sale and the Christmas Fayre. Thank you to everyone who supported these events and helped to raise nearly £2,000 towards the campaign fund.

We hope you have a lovely peaceful Christmas and let’s hope that the New Year brings us the news we have been hoping for.

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The next step


We need everyone to write and ask for call-in.

As expected NYCC’s planning committee approved the Allerton Park incinerator application today. So likely was it that, as judge, jury and executioner, this would be North Yorkshire County Council’s decision, we wrote most of this newsletter last night! The result was 9 – 2 in favour.

Thanks to everyone who made the effort to come to County Hall today. There was a small chance that we might influence the decision. You have also sent out a strong message to Government that people are strongly against this proposal.

We always knew it would be an uphill struggle with NYCC, given that the council voted in favour of the scheme back in December 2010. That’s why we have consistently campaigned for the application to be called in by the Secretary of State and determined at a public inquiry by an independent planning inspector. We remain confident that the outcome of an independent planning inquiry will be that the application is rejected. And it is also important to note that NYCC still have to prove that the scheme offers “value for money” – something we intend to prove it most certainly does not.

So now the time has come to step up the pressure for call-in. Our local MPs, Harrogate Borough Council, local parish and town councils, NYWAG and many individual objectors have already urged that the application be called in. But we know that the Secretary of State takes into account the weight of opposition in decided whether to order call-in, and that means we are asking for one last big effort to secure an independent public inquiry.

We need as many people as possible to write to the Secretary of State asking for call-in.

There are many, many reasons why the application should be called in but any letter you write does not need to cover them all: the most important thing is that you send a letter or an email urging that ‘the application be called in to Public Inquiry’. Please include Public Inquiry in those words.

Amongst the reasons for call-in are:

  • This decision is of regional and national importance;
  • NYCC is not impartial: it has a vested interest in the outcome and calls itself the applicant’s ‘partner’;
  • The highly technical nature of the project needs a level of expertise greater than NYCC possesses – their Officer’s report states as much with respect to climate change impacts;
  • The proposal conflicts with national and EU policies on recycling and carbon emissions;
  • The scheme will involve what amounts to state-aid for a private company (the applicant) by subsidizing the cost of treating trade waste via excessively high costs for household waste. This is unacceptable;
  • Sustainability is a key test under planning law. AWRP is not a sustainable solution because it does not meet the needs of the present and compromises the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It will destroy valuable material rather than recycle it and expose council tax payers to major financial risks. It will emit substances harmful to man, wildlife and the environment;
  • It conflicts with local planning law. Harrogate Borough Council, which would be the planning authority for any industrial development other than a waste plant, is strongly against the application;
  • At least two of our MPs are publically opposed to the scheme – Nigel Adams and Andrew Jones – and have requested call-in;
  • There’s permanent harm to visual amenity and nationally important local heritage sites caused by siting this industrial building in open countryside. This harm cannot be mitigated.

Letters or emails in your own words from individuals count for more than ones from households, so we would ask that everyone in your home writes to the Secretary of State, no matter how briefly.

The address to write to is:

National Planning Casework Unit, 5 St Philips Place, 
Colmore Row, 
Birmingham 
B3 2PW

The email address to write to is:

bev.jones@communities.gsi.gov.uk, with a copy to npcu@communities.gsi.gov.uk


If you click this link it will setup the email for you to write.

Please ask everyone you know to take a few minutes to write a letter or email as soon as you possible, it really can make a difference.

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Planning Meeting Tuesday October 30th

At last we have a date for the Planning Meeting – it’s October 30th. This is when NYCC Planning Committee will be able to present their opinion to the world!!

Call me cynical – but we are not convinced the outcome is anything other than pre-determined, especially since most of the committee has already backed the incinerator solution at the meeting on December 15th 2010.

As yet there is no confirmed venue for the meeting but we are assuming that it will be at County Hall in Northallerton. As soon as we know the venue, we will let you know. Please, please try to attend to show the people making the decision what the people of North Yorkshire think about this dreadful and EXPENSIVE proposal.

We have had a lot of good news recently, including some very positive news for all of us campaigning against the proposals.

  • Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee has again come out whole-heartedly against the planned incinerator – last month members voted unanimously to re-affirm their opposition when they considered supplementary information provided by the applicant, Amey Cespa.
  • Two reports commissioned by ourselves and the Parish Councils Group from the highly-respected expert waste consultancy, Eunomia, have been published and are utterly damning of the incinerator proposals. The reports conclude:
    • The proposed plant will be 50% bigger than needed on the day it opens and twice as big as necessary by the end of its life. We’ve said all along it’s too big.
    • Within 13 years of opening, the County Council will be running short of household waste. NYCC think they can make the shortage up with trade waste, but Eunomia say this is a very risky strategy. Penalty clauses mean ratepayers (that’s you and me!!) will foot the bill for any shortfall in the household waste needed to fuel the facility.
    • Greenhouse gas emissions from the plant would be at least as bad as those arising from landfilling the waste.
  • North Yorkshire County Council’s own County Architect has confirmed the impact on the landscape would be severe and the proposals to mitigate this harm are woefully inadequate (Architect’s report).
  • We have also learned that the plant is capable of burning hazardous waste and there would be nothing North Yorkshire County Council or anyone else could do to stop it provided technical permit requirements were met.

The Eunomia reports (Review of Waste Availability and WRATE Analysis) along with a Summary Report have been submitted to NYCC as part of our objections to the scheme, as have detailed responses from the Parish Councils Group and NYWAG to the further submission put in by AmeyCespa.

We remain very positive that the application will get called in by the Secretary of State if NYCC’s planning committee approves it. We’ll then be confronted with making our case at a public inquiry, which will mean considerable expense. So we are continuing our fund-raising efforts and would ask you to support a jumble sale in Green Hammerton on October 20 and other fund-raising events publicised on the website.

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Even NYCC’s own County Architect says the submission is unacceptable

North Yorkshire County Council’s own Principal Landscape Architect has confirmed the impact on the landscape would be severe and the proposals to mitigate this harm are woefully inadequate.

More specifically:

“The current submission is therefore unacceptable in landscape terms for the following reasons:

  • the development will lead to significant adverse landscape and visual impacts to Allerton Park historic park and garden, to residential properties, footpaths, other sensitive receptors and to the wider landscape context which would be affected by the proposed development, as acknowledged in the assessment
  • the submitted landscape mitigation strategy offered does not adequately resolve the identified impacts or lead to a reduction in residual impacts to an acceptable level
  • the proposed Landscape Management Strategy and Landscape and Cultural Heritage Fund is not sufficiently developed and targeted to demonstrate that improvement works can be identified, prioritised and delivered to offset residual adverse effects

To read the full report please click here.

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NYWAG’s objections to supplementary material

You can also see a full list of all the objections submitted here.

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Another Objection needed PLEASE & Last Call for the Bike Ride

We said we would look through the enormous documents for you. We’ve done it and it doesn’t make good reading. We have been asked to comment in the light of the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). If you have already objected, or even if you haven’t, it’s important that you follow it up with a further comment on the latest documents. Here are some guidelines. There are many more points but this list should help you. Please use your own words.

You should send your objection to allertonwaste@northyorks.gov.uk with a copy to Shaun.Robson@northyorks.gov.uk.
The planning reference is NY/2011/0328/ENV.

Community Involvement

The NPPF changes the context of the AWRP planning application. The NPPF is intended to allow planning to “include, people and communities” and make it less remote from ordinary people like ourselves. It deplores decisions taken by “remote bodies”.
This challenges NYCC’s presumption that it should decide the AWRP application. We think it should either be decided locally by Harrogate Borough Council or, failing that, at a Public Inquiry where local views can be fully aired.

Sustainability

At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework is a presumption in favour of sustainable development.” – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Crucially, AWRP does not meet sustainability criteria. The 25 year contract will fundamentally compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs and lead to the destruction of valuable resources that could have been reused or recycled so virgin resources would have to be exploited. The incinerator dominates the facility in cost and treatment volumes and, once built, cannot be reduced in size. Its high cost forces the operator to run it at full capacity even where there is no need within the county to do so.

The NPPF identifies “three dimensions to sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy” The proposed AWRP would do none of these things.

The scheme relies on significant Trade Waste being collected by Local Authorities in the County. This is outside the original purpose of the scheme and is anti-competitive; it will put existing local businesses out of business, in favour of a Spanish-owned multi-national. This is not sustainable economically.

NYCC (and hence future generations of its residents) would be committed to the costs of decommissioning the plant and re-instatement of the site. These costs are not known, another nail in the coffin of the idea that this scheme represents Value for Money.

The NPPF states “Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations.” This scheme doesn’t even ensure better lives for ourselves because of: excessive cost; inferior recycling capability; increased greenhouse gas generation from increased waste transport distances and waste disposal; serious and unavoidable damage to the local landscape, and; increased risk of pollution from the incineration element. All of these unnecessary outcomes would be worse for future generations.

Locking Out Better Options

The NPPF states “We must respond to the changes that new technologies offer us.” This application fails this test because the proposed technology is out of date and does not offer the best solution to maximising recycling or good value for money. It also locks us out of exploiting newer, cheaper and cleaner options for a generation.

Transport

The NPPF states that all developments which generate significant amounts of movement should be required to provide a Travel Plan. AWRP will result in a significant increase in the distances waste will be transported and an increase in vehicle movements on the dangerous A59/A168 junction yet the planning application does not include a Transport Statement. The AWRP fails to provide such a plan and therefore cannot be approved.

Minerals

The NPPF states that Minerals are essential to support sustainable economic growth and our quality of life. Mineral Extraction is an important contributor to the NYCC rural economy and reinstatement requires landfill. AWRP and NYCC have not quantified the impact of trying to eliminate landfill on this important rural North Yorkshire industry.

NYCC has ample scope for landfill and modern landfill strategies coupled with enhanced recycling and recovery provides a viable alternative, both in the short-term and in the long-term. Don’t let AWRP kill off this opportunity.

Mitigation

The majority (about £1 million) of the proposed mitigation will be spent on features and buildings which are not accessible to the majority of the population of North Yorkshire.

The remainder of the proposals are simply an unachievable wish list. They are unachievable because AWRP do not own the land on which they would like mitigation to take place – e.g. they are suggesting banks of trees to obscure the view of the incinerator. Even when fully grown, these trees would not be big enough to hide the development.

Waste Volumes

The projections of waste volumes that were used to justify the original plan for an incinerator have changed dramatically. Now NYCC say there is a need to incinerate a lot of trade waste to bolster the supply for the incinerator.

This country is already nearing overcapacity for incinerators. Too many incinerators will be competing for too little waste. That means the price will drop. That will blow the financial projections apart. It’s just not needed.

Last Call for the Bike Ride

If you’d like to join our group of cyclists on Saturday September 8th you’ll have a great day out and raise funds for the campaign. Whixley to Filey Sponsored Bike Ride – 57 miles, start at Whixley church 8.30am. There will be a support vehicle. Back roads all the way. If you can’t get sponsorship, please give a donation of £25.

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Environment Agency Presentation on Thursday: Consultation Extended

Can you spare some time on Thursday? We need plenty of people to visit the Environment Agency drop-in.

It’s at Knaresborough House, High Street, Knaresborough HG5 0HW on Thursday 2nd August from 11.30 to 7.30pm.

This is to help the EA decide whether or not they will give the incinerator operators (Amey Cespa) an environmental permit. It can’t operate without one. OK, it is not the application itself but it is vital to the applicant.

The EA need to know that the public has concerns about the environmental impacts of the planned scheme. We need to make sure we have a lot of people signing the visitor book and asking questions.

The main questions for the EA should include
• atmospheric pollution (CO2, nano particles, other pollutants)
• wasted heat,
• transport & road accidents
• groundwater worries (pollution)
• the inexperience of The Company with this type of waste treatment (incineration)
• the low level of the overall Input delivered to the site that will actually be recycled (only around 5%)
• temperature inversions in the Vale of York causing any emissions to linger in the local atmosphere.

They listened but not much!

NYCC have taken notice of your complaints. The consultation on the latest round of documents has been extended until 31st August.

We are looking at its implications and will let you know if we need any support with our replies.

BUT …

We have no evidence that NYCC are listening to our arguments. It is important that we continue to make them. Harrogate and Knaresborough Councils have both objected democratically on planning grounds. There are also many Parish Councils and MPs who are supporting our campaign.

Our objections continue to be that:
• the proposed incinerator is unnecessary and vastly overpriced for North Yorkshire.
• We have put forward cheaper alternatives which are much more environment friendly
• the whole country is nearing overcapacity for incinerators (even if you agree they are necessary) – there are incinerators already being built nearby which would be much cheaper to use if they insist on burning it
• the application runs counter to the UK’s national and international commitments on climate change;
• It is contrary to EU, National and District Planning Policies;
• It will cause harm to the environment and human health and well-being,
• It will cause harm to the economy and to sustainability which cannot be mitigated
• the applicant fails to prove a need for an incinerator that overrides the harm.

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Deadline extended – even though the extended deadline passed on 31st August, all objections have to be noted up until the time of the Planning Meeting – nobody knows where or when that is but it’s possibly October 23rd 2012

Shaun Robson, Team Leader of Development Control, has today confirmed that due to the number of requests received they have had to extend the consultation period for the review of the additional documentation submitted by Amey Cespa until the 31 August 2012.

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Here we go again! Another round of rushed consultation

If you have already put in an objection to the original planning application for the incinerator at Allerton Park, you will probably have received a letter or email from NYCC notifying you that Amey Cespa have submitted further documentation in support of their application. The NYCC letter/email tells you where to get more information and says you must respond by Friday 3rd August.

This deadline is totally unreasonable (although perhaps not surprising given NYCC’s track record). There are hundreds of pages.

We have written and asked for an extension to the end of August. Please do the same – if we all do it, they are more likely to listen.

The reasons for your request could be any of the following:

  1. We are in a period where many key people are on holiday during the last two weeks of July and then August. To refuse a reasonable response period will be seen as an attempt to favour Amey Cespa.
  2. The Amey Cespa response is cumbersome and difficult to download.
  3. It runs to hundreds of pages.
  4. Consultees & objectors need time to circulate, read and discuss their response.
  5. Amey Cespa took several months to produce their response using professionals. It is unreasonable to give consultees & objectors such a short deadline.

Please use your own words.

In the meantime our experts and advisers will be looking at the submission in depth. We will keep you informed on what we find.

If you’d like to look at the documents, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/allertonwrp. You need to scroll nearly to the bottom to find the documents headed “Further environmental information submitted under Regulation 22 of the EIA Regulations 2011″.

The new recycling scheme

Many of you will be taking part in the trial for the new roadside recycling scheme. Harrogate Waste Department are testing it before rolling it out to the whole district.

This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to show that we don’t need an incinerator. The more we recycle, the less they will need to handle. We’ve said all along that the whole “recovery park” is oversized. This makes it even more so. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same.

Media

You may have seen that the Ackrill group of papers are backing our campaign. They cover Wetherby, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Pateley Bridge, Ripon and surrounding areas. A recent survey showed that over 95% of responses were opposed to the incinerator.

Sponsored bike ride – September 8th – Please join us

On September 8th a group of supporters will be cycling from Whixley to Filey to raise funds and gain more publicity for the anti-incinerator campaign.

It’s a 57 mile scenic route avoiding main roads. Only 200 yards is on a main road and, even then, there is a cycle track. The countryside is lovely, there are some beautiful views including the back of the Castle Howard estate and some delightful villages. The pace is up to you (gentle for most of us) – it’s not a race.

If you’d like to join all or part of the ride or if you’d like to sponsor any of us (including me) please contact steve@nywag.org for details.

Take care and keep spreading the message.

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Objections to AmeyCespa supplementary material

Your Reference: NY/2011/0328/ENV

AmeyCespa have recently submitted a vast amount of supplementary material yet we understand that the ‘consultation’ period on this new material ends on the 3rd August. This gives people just 21 days to respond, part of which was eaten up by the time it took letters notifying people to arrive. Bearing in mind the length and complexity of the new material, we consider this to be grossly unfair. It is barely possible for people who have jobs to read the document, let alone comment on it in that time. On top of that, many people are away on holiday over period and the shortness of the timescale deprives them of their democratic right to comment.

Faced with this unrealistic timescale, I am asking for a realistic timescale to be set. We believe that 60 days would be appropriate.

We wrote twice concerning the absurdly short timescale for comment on the original application and felt that the extension granted was ungenerous. We are therefore very disappointed that lessons have not been learnt and an unrealistic 21 day timescale is again imposed. Once again you risk being seen as stifling public debate and comment, surely not your intention?

Finally, may I remind you that the North Yorkshire Waste Action Group (NYWAG) is a pressure group of concerned residents and we have submitted a petition of over 10,000 signatories who oppose AmeyCespa’s AWRP proposal. We therefore represent a major body of opinion. It is important that opinion is heard and we need a fair and reasonable amount of time in which to give you a proper and considered set of objections to the AWRP proposal.

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