Anti-incinerator group wins right to appeal permit verdict

UK: Work at a Bedfordshire EfW site is under way but its environmental permit faces another court date

An artist's impression of the facility
An artist's impression of the facility

Anti-energy recovery NGO Bedfordshire Against Covanta Incinerator (BACI) says it has secured an appeal hearing following its failed judicial review of the Rookery South energy-from-waste plant’s environmental permit last year.

BACI said in a statement this week that it had been given permission to proceed to a full hearing at the court of appeal. It said it still believed there was a "strong case" against the plant being awarded a permit and the case needed further examination.

The NGO said last November that it hoped to appeal after losing the judicial review into a High Court ruling last year that backed the Environment Agency's decision to award the permit to the otherwise fully consented EfW plant.

The original challenge centred on whether potential incinerator bottom ash (IBA) emissions had been taken into account by US-based Covanta and France-based Veolia when they applied for the permit after joining the development in 2016.

According to last year’s judgment, Covanta admitted an "error" relating to how IBA would be treated in its application, but the EA said it had not "relied upon" this information when issuing the permit.

Covanta executive director for the UK and Europe, Tom Koltis, said: "We remain confident in the Environment Agency's position that the challenge to their well-founded permit application and evaluation processes is without merit, as was confirmed by the High Court ruling in November.
"Therefore, we're pursuing options to proceed to financial close and commence construction of this much-needed infrastructure project prior to the end of the appeals process.

"We are committed to being a good neighbour and we'll continue to source local construction suppliers wherever possible to maximise the economic advantages for Bedfordshire's residents and businesses."

In January this year, construction contractor Switzerland-based Hitachi Zosen Inova started carrying out roadworks ahead of work on the main build of the EfW plant.

The 50MWe facility is due to process 585,000 tonnes a year of municipal waste.

The development survived another judicial review covering its planning consent in 2014 and won the UK’s first development control order in 2013.

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