Masthead Local Govt - Planning

Council defeats challenge to grant of permission for energy from waste plants

Energy iStock 000010421988XSmall 146x219A legal challenge to a council committee’s grant of planning permission for the construction of two plants to recover energy from waste has been dismissed.

The case of Shimbles, R (On the Application Of) v Bradford Metropolitan District Council [2018] EWHC 195 related to a decision of Bradford’s regulatory and appeals committee on 11 April 2017 to approve permission for the plants.

One plant is intended to burn commercial waste and produce electricity from it. The other plant is for melting plastic waste and turning it into biofuel.

The claimant was a local resident and among those who had objected to the application.

There were five grounds of challenge advanced before Mr Justice Kerr. The first two related to "heritage" issues in the relevant officer's report. It was agreed that some harm would result to the setting of the Grade 1-listed East Riddlesden Hall, which is located 500m north of the proposed development site and was once used for a film version of Wuthering Heights. A chimney and sometimes a plume of vapour would be in plain sight from it.

The other three grounds related to the impact on two sites designated under EU legislation, the South Pennine Moors Special Protection Area (the SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) known locally as Rombald's Moor.

However, Mr Justice Kerr concluded that the grounds of challenge were “not well founded” and, accordingly, the claim must fail.

The judge added: “I hope the objectors are comforted by the assurances drawn to their and my attention, as a result of these proceedings, that emissions from the two new plants will not be harmful and that, if they are, the Environment Agency will not permit the plants to operate….

“Although I have considerable sympathy for the claimant and the other objectors, I find no legal flaw in the decision challenged, and I dismiss the claim.”

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