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Gloucestershire County Council bring in big guns for incinerator planning process

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: November 02, 2012

  • Artist's impression of the new incinerator

  • Incinerator protest

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A team of specialist planning experts has been brought in by Gloucestershire County Council to ensure the process to build the county's new incinerator is done 'by the book.'

The council has already received over 1,000 comments so far on the plans for an incinerator at Javelin Park submitted by Urbaser Balfour Beatty during the summer.

The high-profile application is for an energy from waste facility on the site, which is in Haresfield just off the M5 motorway.

The council says it is aware of the significant public interest in this application and has employed 'independent planning experts' BPP Consulting to help with the planning process and to make sure everything is 'done by the book.'

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The council says it is confident it has the expertise within its planning team to deal with the application and its top planning officer continues lead on the case.

However, a spokesdman said the consultants will be able to provide additional checks and balances to ensure that all aspects of the application have been thoroughly tested and considered before a recommendation is made to the planning committee.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Gloucestershire said: “The decision to appoint independent planning experts may well help with the planning process, but it will not reassure those members of the public who are against the Javelin Park waste facility.

“It is also important that members of the public know exactly how much extra employing BPP Consulting will cost in conducting additional checks and balances to an already unwanted county incinerator.”

The application is currently going through the second round of formal consultation and has taken almost a year to get to this stage.

It is hoped, the application will be ready for determination by the planning committee in January 2013.

Duncan Jordan, Chief Operating Officer, said: “There’s no question that this application has attracted a lot of public interest and while we do have the expertise within our own team, BPP can offer extra reassurance to everyone concerned.

“BPP is a respected independent company with a lot of experience in this area.

“I’m confident they will be able to work with us to ensure this application is dealt with properly all the way through.”

The council says it has a duty to bring a planning application to determination stage as expediently as possible.

A cross-party committee of councillors will judge the application when it reaches determination stage.

A provisional date for the planning committee meeting has been set for Thursday, January 17, 2013 however this is not confirmed yet. If the second round of consultation raises further issues that need more consideration, a third round of consultation may need to take place, which would then delay consideration of the application.

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  • recycle_reuse  |  November 14 2012, 3:44PM

    "BPP Consulting is a partnership of three individuals that was only created this year. It has not yet submitted its first year of accounts and therefore has no meaningful track record in business. Duncan Jordan's claim that they are a 'highly professional organisation' is meaningless for a company that has existed for such a short period of time and has no legitimate business history. Jordan cannot have any reasonable evidence to support his statement. Questions need to be asked - How was BPP chosen and how much are they being paid by GCC? Was a proper tender process entered into and who were the other candidates? Councils are obliged to act fairly when awarding contracts, and tender is the usual process. In a case as contentious is this, it is even more important that proper procedure is followed. From my experience in business, consultants are usually hired to give the answer the client wants to hear. The client in this case is a council that wants to build an incinerator against the wishes of local residents. Is GCC really saying that after months of planning work they have suddenly discovered, at this late stage, that they need to replace their (supposedly impartial) planning officers with a bought in team who will bring bought advice.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 05 2012, 8:00AM

    Aletheia - Do you live in Haresfield? if you look up the Map, the location is central to the main transport routes connecting Stroud, Gloucester/Cheltenham/Tewkesbury, and the Forest of Dean via the M5 and the arterial routes - A40 and A38, also with he Cotswolds via the A417. Regards emissions, wind direction, etc, best not get drawn into general discussion without knowing the specifics - such plants have scrubbers to remove gaseous emissions, and as reported, bag filters for the particulates - knowing the various technologies in the business and that the regulator will check that it complies with relevant standards before licensing, I have no qualms. If Glosvain has any objections, they should go for a Judicial Review. In any case our agreeing or disagreeing based on superficial points on TIG will make very little difference.

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  • Aletheia  |  November 05 2012, 1:29AM

    'Bonkim 2003' are you seriously suggesting that Haresfield has such a wonderful road network that it is the only sensible place to put it? What's wrong with Cirencester on the A417 or somewhere off the A40 in the Cotswolds? How about Tewkesbury off M5? The prevailing wind in this country is from the southwest so why would you put an incinerator to the south of Gloucester and southwest of Cheltenham? Any emisions that might be dangerous whether accidental or otherwise will immediately hit dense urban areas before it is diluted by distance.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 04 2012, 9:26PM

    Aletheia - such plants need good transport connections and for Gloucestershire quite appropriate. regards emissions - the environmental impacts report one assumes has been approved or will meet relevant regulatory standards.

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  • Aletheia  |  November 04 2012, 3:49PM

    I don't come from this county but one thing I have learned about it is that if there is something, that could in any way be classed as unpleasant, that has to be built it will always be dumped pretty close to or in Gloucester. The air quality of the Severn Valley is already poor because polutants sit in the valley. It is the one part of the county that you wouldn't want to put it. Something else I have always noticed is that nothing like this is ever built in the Cotswolds. I wonder why? I suppose money talks if you don't want something in your back yard.

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  • sam291  |  November 02 2012, 10:51PM

    I am discussed to read that the County Council are wasting more money on consultants re the planning, it is a done deal by the tories, and they are only doing this to show that they are acting correctly - BUT THEY ARE NOT!! this was a project run by Cllr. Stan Waddington and this method of incineration was decided in 2006/2007 - we are NOW in 2012 technology has changed a lot since then, so why are they not using the latest technology? Why did the council not ask the TAX PAYERS of Gloucester which type of incinerator is required? after all it is TAX PAYERS MONEY...... Why does the council not listen regarding health issues, I have been looking on the GLOSVAIN website and was really concerned about how far the PLUM reaches, take a look you to may be surprised. We do not want an Incinerator - why does it not get built in the Cotswold, Minchinhapton? We need to do something about this, because once it is built, it will bo to late. There are already quite a few incinerators in and around Gloucester, so what happens when the rubbish runs out? they will start importing rubbish to make sure the incinerator is working, this is where then the council will make money, also rubbish will come from other areas causing more traffic in and around Quedgeley and Hardwicke. And ofcourse there is the serious health issues which the council keep Denying, they say there are no health issues! Yet the so called expert that they use, is not really an expert...........

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  • GlosYap2  |  November 02 2012, 8:53PM

    Ok, to rephrase... I think most of the pro camp *believe* themselves to be safely out of pollution range of it.

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  • Future2010  |  November 02 2012, 6:48PM

    Though prevailing winds will take the toxic emissions from the stack over Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, as well as villages on the escarpment and Cotswold hills, the toxic emissions will spread far and wide. The stack emissions don't go straight up and drop vertically, some balloons were released at the Javelin Park site and one arrived in Wales.

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  • GlosYap2  |  November 02 2012, 6:00PM

    Interesting, the comments of the pro-incinerator group would have more sincerity if any of them lived within a reasonable distance of it. Methinks the pro-camp is safely outside of pollution range of it!

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  • Gladwin  |  November 02 2012, 5:28PM

    I thought this was still in consultation? Why are the council acting like this is a done deal and spending our money making sure all boxes are ticked? What exactly are we paying for here?

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