Calls for a delay in decision on county incinerator
BOROUGH chiefs in Cheltenham have called for a delay in the decision about whether or not a £500 million waste incinerator will be built in the county.
The Lib Dem executive wants Shire Hall to pause its plans for an electricity-generating burner at Javelin Park, just off the M5, junction 12.
They said the Conservative-backed plans should be halted while a long-term strategy for Gloucestershire's rubbish disposal was drawn up.
The Lib Dems also said the county might not produce enough waste to keep the plant going and there should be further studies into the health impact of burning waste. A planning inspector is yet to issue a binding report into the draft Waste Core Strategy (WCS).
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The proposed incinerator would deal with waste left after all recyclable material is taken out, but its opponents claim the ash produced would be toxic.
Borough sustainability chief Councillor Roger Whyborn (LD, Up Hatherley) made the plea in a letter to the county's planning committee.
He said: "The WCS is fundamental to the determination of this application.
"It is the only method to consider the adequacy of the strategic approach to waste and the respective merits of the strategic sites included for dealing with residual waste.
"It is premature to consider granting permission to the proposal until the inspector has created the context for determination."
The delay to the county's Waste Core Strategy has added uncertainty to the timetable for the incinerator development, so it is not known when the county council's planning committee, which handles all waste disposal matters, will make a final decision.
The borough council is also concerned the amount of waste generated might not be enough to keep the plant operating.
If that was the case, the county would have to import waste from outside the area.
In addition to this, there are worries that the county council has not carried out a robust assessment of the environmental impact of the proposal.
Mr Whyborn said other methods for waste disposal, including biological and thermal treatments, should be explored.
A spokeswoman for GCC said: "As part of the planning process we will consider all comments carefully.
"We're grateful the Cheltenham Borough Council has taken the time to debate this application.
"We will take their feedback into consideration when determining the application."