Many thanks to our MP, Jeremy Quin, for his ongoing support for the Community Group’s campaign.
Jeremy Quin News
Monday, 24 April, 2023
The Open Day for residents at Tanbridge on the proposed Incinerator north of the town was a sad day for many of us given the work that had been put in over a long period to stopping it.
I have been actively working with the brilliant campaign group No Incinerator 4 Horsham since 2017. Ni4H and its volunteers have done incredible work in challenging fighting the proposal and include those who disagree with an incinerator in principle through to those who have no in-principle objection but believe this to be the wrong location.
Throughout this process they have actively encouraged members of the local community to donate money, time and their expertise to help them fight the application. If you are not familiar with Ni4H then I would encourage you to look at their website which sets out the history of the application and the work they have done: https://ni4h.org/
Given in particular (to my mind) legitimate concerns on the proposed site I have been pleased to support them in their endeavours.
This has been ongoing for some years with Ni4H formed in 2016. Many of us were concerned and I was delighted when WSCC rejected the application and had hoped this would be the end of the road.
However, this decision was subsequently appealed by the applicant.
Given the case that substantial regional controversy could be alleged with the impact of the incinerator going beyond the Horsham District, and in the context of national waste strategy, I wrote to the then Secretary of State, on behalf of my constituents, asking that the planning appeal is “considered for recovery” so that issues of wider significance could be considered.
Sadly, our attempts at having the appeal recovered by the Secretary of State were not successful.
There was a public inquiry into the appeal in 2019. Ni4H fundraised for a barrister to represent them in the inquiry and did a huge amount of work to ensure the local community’s concerns were heard during the inquiry. We were hopeful that the inspector would come to the same conclusion as WSCC. Unfortunately the Inspector did not and Britannicrest were given permission to proceed.
Once the appeal was granted the application moved into the next phase and I supported Ni4H by writing to the Environment Agency asking that the application for a permit variation by Britanniacrest Recycling be treated as a matter of High Public Interest. I was pleased that the Environment Agency confirmed that it would be treated as a Site of High Public Interest and that a consultation would be conducted.
The public consultation ran in the summer of 2021 and I wrote to the Environment Agency asking that the consultation date be extended. The Environment Agency granted this extension and ensured all documents were available to be viewed by members of the public at Horsham library. I raised various concerns Ni4H had with the consultation process (such as missing documents) with the Environment Agency and was pleased to help ensure that the public could engage with a proper consultation process.
I also reiterated to the Environment Agency the detailed observations Ni4H and other constituents had and asked that all responses to the consultation were subject to detailed deliberation.
After the closure of the public consultation I also wrote to the Health Minister and the Environment Agency raising Ni4H’s concerns about the health implications of incinerators and ensuring that the Environment Agency were using the most up to date evidence when determining the permit variation application.
Despite the efforts of Ni4H the Environment Agency issued Britanniacrest with a draft permit signalling that they were minded to approve the permit. A further round of consultation was opened on the draft decision and again members of the public were encouraged to participate.
Following the draft permit I met with Ni4H again and after that meeting wrote to the Environment Agency setting out all the concerns Ni4H had about the draft decision, I also raised the issues of water neutrality and whether the Environment Agency had taken the implications of water use when issuing the draft permit.
I also got in touch with the UK Health Security Agency to ask if they had a role in responding to the draft permit variation, which they confirmed they had responded.
I also wrote to the Minister responsible at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asking whether a moratorium on giving incinerators planning and permit consent should be put in place whilst further assessment on residual waste treatment capacity is conducted.
In November last year I was advised by the Environment Agency that they had decided to issue a permit variation to Britanniacrest allowing them to operate the facility. The Environment Agency assured me that they will continue to regulate the site and if they were to identify any breaches at the facility of the permit conditions then they would take appropriate enforcement action.
I know this was incredibly disappointing to many constituents and to the volunteers at Ni4H who had worked so hard for many years to prevent the incinerator from going ahead. I know Ni4H were and remain incredibly grateful to all those local residents who have supported them over the years.
Local members of the public are being encouraged to volunteer to join the Community Liaison Group. The Group was established as part of the planning conditions established when the Planning Inspector granted permission in February 2020. I am pleased that Ni4H are encouraging people to actively participate to ensure the right questions continue to be asked and we get the very best solutions. More information about the group can be found here: