Sita UK proposes to build the centre next to Granville landfill site
Sita UK Ltd's application to develop an Energy-from-Waste (EfW) centre at Granville was rejected at a special Plans Board meeting at Telford & Wrekin Council's Civic Offices on Monday, 7 December.
All eight members of the Plans Board voted to reject the Granville incinerator proposal.
Telford & Wrekin Head of Planning Michael Barker took two hours and five minutes to outline his recommendations - concluding that, on-balance, councillors should reject the application.
Mr Barker claimed the incinerator is unnecessary for the treatment of local waste and that it would be bad for the look of the area. He suggested that there are better sites elsewhere in Telford.
Mr Barker believed an incinerator at Granville would prevent the council from developing the area in the way they want in the future, and that it could have an impact on Telford's existing recycling plans.
From BBC Shropshire's Andy Giddings, at the meeting:
Applause from the audience... and everyone can go home.
And the result is no surprise after all that - all eight members of the Plans Board vote to reject Sita UK's application for a waste incinerator next to the Granville landfill site.
Back to Head of Planning Michael Barker for a quick summary, then the vote.
Councillor Malcolm Smith says he can remember applications like this from years gone by. He also says this area is enjoyed by people from around Telford.
Let's incinerate this plan in a fireplace Councillor Malcolm Smith says.
Councillor Joy Francis says she has 10 points to cover, but it's all been said already.
Lots of smiles from the audience. They can see which way this vote is going to go.
Councillor Veronica Fletcher wants to remind us about the three Rs - reduce reuse recycle. She says she can't see the benefit of this incinerator. We are custodians of this planet she says.
Councillor Liz Clare says the landfill site has been a bugbear site for years and they don't want another waste plant there.
She doesn't like the idea of looking for alternative sites though. Councillor Clare says they don't want to come back in a few years time and be debating this all over again. She believes they need to look at other ways of doing things.
Councillor Charles Smith says it is green network land and next door to Granville Country Park. He is also worried about ash leaving the plant being blown about.
Councillor Rosemary Chaplain says the report is very clear.
Now the views of the members of the plans board - Councillor Gill Green says there are other sites and other technologies, - wrong site wrong place wrong time.
Now it's Councillor Nigel Dugmore's turn. This proposal has poor environmental credentials he says.
Councillor Dugmore says they have concerns about what will come out of the incinerator and he's not convinced by the assurances that there is no risk to health.
And some residents will lose their homes... He's talking of course about the great crested newts.
Councillor Lawrence says residents are unhappy about the plume of steam they believe would rise from the incinerator on cold days.
Now it's the turn of the two ward members - Councillor for Muxton Adrian Lawrence first.
He says he's never experienced this level of local opposition before. He says residents really want to keep their green network.
Councillor Lawrence says people in Muxton don't like the landfill site, but at least they know it will close one day. This incinerator could be open for decades
Michael Barker settles back into his chair after two hours and five minutes and gets a round of applause from the audience.
The council's Head of Planning Michael Barker isn't finished yet though!
He's now running us through some late comments he received from residents, Friends of the Earth and Advantage West Midlands (AWM).
AWM seem to be in favour of the idea of incinerators, but don't say anything about this particular site - so these comments don't change the overall recommendations.
And the recommendation to councillors from council officers is to refuse Sita UK planning permission for five main reasons:
It's not needed for the treatment of local waste; it would be bad for the look of the area; it would prevent them from developing the area in the way they want in the future; it could have an impact on Telford's existing recycling plans and there are better sites elsewhere.
And that's more or less it, we're moving on to the conclusions now... and then it's the recommendation.
Traffic now - the council report says that this could be managed with a few alterations to the local road network, so not a big issue.
Noise next - and this part of the report is even shorter. The council officers' report says the noise levels would be acceptable.
Some members of the public advised the council to produce a health impact assessment says Michael Barker.
But the council has taken advice from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and it produced a report in September this year saying incinerator plants like this are perfectly safe.
We don't feel we're in a position to question the HPA, says Michael Barker.
That was brief - we're on to the potential health concerns now...
Telford's head of planning says that all incinerator sites are monitored and only operate if they can get a permit from the Environment Agency.
He says a similar site to this is working in Grimsby with no concerns raised.
Now we are on to looking at alternative sites. Telford & Wrekin Council says it looked at 95 alternative locations for this incinerator and they've cut that down to a shortlist of 17 - all of which are better than the Granville site apparently!
...Although Michael Barker is quick to say that doesn't mean they would guarantee to grant planning approval for these sites!
Head of Planning Michael Barker says he believes Sita UK have underestimated the visual impact of the incinerator in their proposal.
The council does not wish to see the edges of this town eroded we are told.
We are told that Sita had offered to build a visitors centre, but in the view of council officers, this is not enough to outweigh the negative impact on the environment.
The chimney stack on the incinerator is mentioned - it would reduce the quality of the environment says Michael Barker.
This land at Granville is part of Telford's green network we are told, and council officers are worried about losing some of it.
Moving on to the impact on the landscape now.
Now we're being told about the guidelines on finding sites for plants like this - and all the advice seems to be that you build them in industrial area, contaminated land and places like that.
Head of Planning Michael Barker says there are better sites in the Telford area.
Another interesting point - Michael Barker says that in his view, there is no benefit in having a waste incinerator next to a landfill site... So no need to have it next to the Granville site.
Scary moment there - Michael Barker said we should turn to page 36 now! Luckily he meant page 63 and we don't have to repeat the last 45 minutes.
Now we're being told about all the other waste treatment centres in the West Midlands. The point being made by Mr Barker is that we already have plenty of capacity and no need for another waste disposal site.
... To the argument for incinerating Telford waste now.
Michael Barker says Sita UK believe they can take business and industrial waste. We're told Sita thinks a precedent was set with a similar site in Runcorn, which accepts business and industrial waste.
Michael Barker is going through something called the waste heirarchy now - the short version of all that is he's saying there are better ways to deal with waste than incineration.
We're at page 60 now. There are 92 pages in this report. Anyone want to guess when this report on the report will come to a conclusion?
A graph! This one is to explain the waste treatment gap.
The point being made here is that energy from waste (waste incinerators) is one option - but there are plenty of other options, according to the council.
We're having the complexities of landfill tax and landfill allowances explained to us now.
Michael Barker says this might be quite complicated.
This report took 15 months to put together and we're starting to understand why - getting on for an hour into the meeting and we're just over half way through the report.
At the moment, says Michael Barker, 39% of Telford's waste is recycled.
The point being made is that the council is committed to recycling, rather than landfill.
Wait - there's someone FOR the application! There was one resident who wrote in to the council, urging them to approve the plans.
They say that if we'd started incinerating years ago, we might not have these big landfill sites nowadays.
244 letters of objection from residents alone says Michael Barker - all sorts of concerns
Now we're hearing what Telford's two MPs have to say - David Wright and Mark Pritchard have both objected to the scheme.
Important point: Michael Barker says there are already plenty of places to incinerate waste at the moment.
We would only end up importing other peoples waste according to West Midlands Friends of the Earth.
Friends of the Earth say they don't believe SITAs claim that there are local businesses eager to use an incinerator.
We're hearing about the impact on local ponds now - but again, no real concerns we're told.
...Friends of the Earth put in a very full objection we are told. Robert Saunders from Friends of the Earth sits back in his chair.
Now we're hearing about the relevant planning regulations.
We're told the plant would have an insignificant impact on air quality
Michael Barker has been speaking for 29 minutes now and the council's head of planning has just had to break to have a glass of water!
At the moment we're working our way through all the possible concerns surrounding this site. So far it's got to be said, there aren't any major problems - but we'll come to that!
Michael Barker says there would be planning controls on the hours it would operate and he says they've assessed the impact on human health. But they believe the impact wouldn't be significant.
He says the report looked at alternative sites, but Sita thought the one next to the Granville landfill was the best option.
Michael Barker (the council's head of planning) says there would be only a minimal impact on wildlife.
We are told that the incinerator could supply heat and electricity and would use complex technology.
The chair has asked for declarations of interest - there aren't any
Michael Barker, the councils head of planning has been asked to start with his report
The chair has just brought down his hammer to start the meeting
This could be lively!
They're expecting a big turnout at tonight's plans board meeting at the Civic Offices in Telford town centre.
The meeting itself is expected to last around one and a half hours and we'll be hearing from the council's head of planning (who will present his officers report on the application) from two local councillors and from the members of the committee itself.
The proposal to build an incineration plant next to the current Granville landfill site has attracted criticism from across Telford, and the council has received almost 250 letters of objection from local residents.
Telford & Wrekin Council Leader Andrew Eade said, "EfW facilities are just one of the options and in pursuing a strategy we have said we will be looking at various technologies with the principal aims of minimising waste and maximising recycling."