Minister challenged by MP over lack of inquiry into incinerator
A GOVERNMENT Minister has been challenged over the decision not to order an inquiry into the building of a £140 million incinerator in Plymouth.
Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, questioned why the rule stating wind turbines should not have ‘unacceptable’ impacts on local communities, was not applied to the fans in the controversial waste facility being built close to homes in the city.
The politician also pointed out the Government had “called-in” two other similar applications – meaning a public inquiry will now be held with the final decision taken by the Government Minister - but this was not the case for the Plymouth incinerator.
The development of the energy from waste plant Germany-based MVV Environment Devonport Limited at North Yard in Plymouth has provoked a storm of protest.
It will handle up to 245,000 tonnes of rubbish a year from Plymouth, Torbay and South Devon. It will start working in 2014. Planning minister Nick Boles had been pressed in the Commons over minimum distances between wind turbines and residential properties.
Responding, Mr Boles said: “We have been clear that wind turbines should not have unacceptable impacts on local communities, but we have not set minimum separation distances nationally, because to do so would cut across localism.”
Ms Seabeck said: “It is interesting to hear of the Minister’s interest in the noise and disruption allegedly caused by wind turbines. Would he therefore apply the same rule to the fans in energy from waste plants such as the one in Plymouth, which is 200 metres from people’s homes? Will he explain why the Department chose to call in two other applications for waste to energy plants but not the one in Plymouth?”
Mr Boles said: “The rule I would apply is that wherever possible it should be left to local authorities to make those decisions.
“However, there are a few cases where applications have significance beyond local authority boundaries and it is therefore impossible for one local authority to decide. In the case she mentions, I would imagine that that criterion was not fulfilled.”