COMPLAINT by No Incinerator 4 Horsham Community Group
Regarding: RH12 4QD, Britaniacrest Recycling Limited, EPR/CB3308TD/V002: environmental permit consultation.
No Incinerator 4 Horsham Community Group (Ni4H) is a voluntary group formed in 2016 by local residents, to raise awareness and campaign against the proposal for an incinerator off the A264 in Langhurstwood Road, Horsham, RH12 4QD, near Warnham Station. Britaniacrest Recycling Ltd lodged a planning appeal against refusal of planning permission by West Sussex County Council.
Ni4H raised funds to be represented as a Rule 6 Party at the planning appeal, by a London Barrister and a Planning Expert and to commission expert reports. Planning permission was granted subject to conditions at appeal, but an environmental permit is also required to meet the high standards and risk assessments for this type of operation.
Following correspondence with the Environment Agency (EA) regarding environmental permit consultation EPR/CB3308TD/V002 for the proposed Horsham Incinerator, Ni4H still has a number of concerns including:
- The consultation was not widely advertised by the EA, there was a single advert in the West Sussex County Times, no social media advertising and letters were not sent to local residents. A Public Event was not held by the EA and no alternative arrangements were made, Ni4H offered to suggest suitable local venues including those able to live stream events.
- The public were not updated regarding the consultation extension to midnight on 16 July 2021 and some believed the consultation had been withdrawn, having seen misleading information on the gov.uk website.
- The Ni4H Team has spent many hours reviewing documents, it is very difficult to engage with and comment on this High Public Interest Consultation, with all the ongoing missing and ambiguous information, some of which has been drawn to our attention by experts, who would expect to be able to review this information at this stage in the EA Consultation process.
- Some of the missing material is such that has been expected up until now by the EA and published in proper time on Citizen Space, if such information is no longer required, it signals a genuinely concerning diminution in the scrutiny of the applicant’s application and his/her suitability to operate a waste incinerator.
- The EA response to the concerns suggests that an applicant can furnish out of date evidence (including weather data from 10 years ago) with impunity and to say that ‘Application documents do not have to be dated from a specific period’ suggests that an applicant can furnish evidence from any point in time that suits him or her.
- The EA response also suggests they are prepared to allow the consultation clock to run when only part of the information required for their decision and the public’s interest is available. The EA normally takes months before making a decision, but the public has just a few weeks to comment.
- The documents are riddled with poor referencing errors, evidence of poor checking by the document checker, they need to be updated and reissued. The existence of these most basic of errors in referencing, which prohibit satisfactory review of the application documents by consultees, stakeholders, the public or EA, lead Ni4H to the conclusion that there are likely to be errors in facts, calculations and modelling undertaken over and above those already identified by Ni4H.
Ni4H believes that the Environment Agency is not providing an efficient and high-quality service. To ensure this is a fair process, Ni4H has respectfully asked the Environment Agency to nullify this consultation, to enable them to add all the missing documents and information clearly to Citizen Space and provide copies in Horsham Library.
Then to widely advertise and restart the consultation, allowing 6 weeks for consultees, local residents and their expert consultants to review documents, write and submit their comments and reports.
Ni4H sent a complaint to the Environment Agency on 12 July 2021 who responded: “We have logged your correspondence as a complaint with reference number 13691. We are looking into points you have raised and will respond to you as soon as possible.” Ni4H sent a copy of the complaint to our MP, Jeremy Quin, as he has asked us to continue copying him into our correspondence with the EA.
The complaint letter includes:
- Appendix A – Review of Concerns
- Appendix B – Lack of information to comment on
- Appendix C – Inability to respond
- Appendix D – Unawareness of the consultation
- Appendix E – Previous Correspondence Between Ni4H and EA