A campaign group is urging developers behind a controversial incinerator build in Horsham not to put ‘profit over health’.
No Incinerator 4 Horsham has issued the statement after waste management firm Britaniacrest Recycling, announced ‘rapid progress’ on the Recycling, Recovery and Renewable Energy Facility (3Rs).
Following a public inquiry in February this year, which granted planning permission after the company demonstrated that its proposal would not severely impact the rural landscape, the 3Rs facility will move into construction in summer 2021, a spokesman said.
An Ni4H spokeswoman said: “No Incinerator 4 Horsham Community Group (Ni4H) first heard of these significant developments through the West Sussex County Times. At the public inquiry assurances were given that the community would be kept informed, but these promises have already been broken.
“The community was not informed about the discharge of conditions. Not provided with a press release announcing plans for construction to start. The Community Liaison Group (CLG) has not met since February 24 and the community has not been invited to comment on the new terms of reference for the Community Liaison Group. Britaniacrest has not shared details of the consultation associated with the Environment Permit Application.”
So far Britaniacrest has only discharged three of Planning Inspector Ian Jenkins’ 28 Planning Conditions, she added. Ni4H aims to ensure that any construction conforms to the highest specifications, follows the latest and best environmental guidelines. Ni4H said it has written to the Environment Agency requesting that the application is treated as an application of High Public Interest, including consultation with the public, Ni4H and other relevant organisations. Ni4H continues to seek advice from our Planning, Technical and Legal team.
Ni4H vice chairman, Kevin Slatter, said: “As a local resident my biggest concern about this development is the possible focus on profit over health.
“While disappointed to lose the appeal we were pleased that it was part of the conditions that a formal liaison group would have to be set up, to keep the local community informed and for them to have more confidence by being part of the process.
“So, I was very disappointed that we have had no information about progress until we see it in the press, despite asking directly for updates. I hope this is not indicative of how the relationship between Britaniacrest and the community will continue.”
Karen Park, Ni4H Co-ordinator, added: “This proposal goes against climate ambitions. In July 2020 West Sussex County Council approved the Climate Change Strategy to be carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030.”
The Community Liaison Group will be open to members of the public, contact Ni4H www.ni4h.org for more information.
A spokesman from Britaniacrest Recycling said: “In a time of Covid-19 we’ve had to look at other ways to communicate progress on the Recycling, Recovery and Renewable Energy Facility (3Rs) project, which is why we provided a media release to the West Sussex County Times and other local press to keep local communities updated.
“We have communicated directly to the CLG. There may, however, have been a timing gap.
“In partnership with West Sussex County Council we’re continuing to discharge the conditions that are associated with the project’s planning permission. The authority has also agreed that we should suspend the CLG for safety and social distancing reasons. However, we have offered to continue these meetings virtually if members would prefer.
“All energy recovery facilities have to apply for a permit via the Environment Agency and it’s then for this regulator to carry out an independent consultation – not the applicant.
“The fact remains that there’s an urgent need in West Sussex for new waste infrastructure. Otherwise, the alternative is for more UK-based landfill sites, which is the least sustainable option for managing non-recyclable waste.”
West Sussex County Times by Sam Dixon-French
Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 5:26 pm