Waste firm's New England quarry incinerator scheme for Lee Mill is turned down
WASTE company Viridor was last night urged to "move on" after it was refused permission to build an incinerator near Ivybridge.
Devon County Council planners unanimously rejected an application from Viridor for a £200million energy-from-waste plant at New England Quarry, south of the A38 at Lee Mill.
Campaigner Charlotte Mills, from EcoIvy, said afterwards: "The public, the planners and now councillors have said 'No'. We think it's time for Viridor to accept defeat and move on."
Ms Mills gave evidence to the county development management committee at its meeting in Exeter. She said Viridor's application was flawed under planning law.
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The company would have to import waste from as far afield as Dorset and Somerset, she said.
Howard Ellard, Viridor's business development director, admitted that the main use would be for commercial and industrial waste.
He said the impact of the incinerator had been over-stated and the benefits under-stated.
Mr Ellard said there would be no significant impact on highways.
He said they aimed to use the heat generated but could not start negotiating with potential users until they got planning permission.
Recommending refusal, planning officer Sue Penaluna said that although the site was allocated for waste handling, the plant was considered to be unsympathetic to the location.
The development would result in the loss of at least 1.4 hectares of ancient woodland, she said.
The nearest inhabited property is about 100 metres from the site. The incinerator would have a chimney a metre wide and 90 metres high, in dove grey.
Since the approval for the Plymouth incinerator, it was obvious this would be a commercial and industrial plant, Ms Penaluna said. This could mean importing waste from out of Devon.
South Hams district councillor Alan Gorman, from the Green Party, said there was no use for the waste heat and no plan to capture landfill gas. He said the district council opposed the scheme.
Cllr Will Mumford said the thought of dragging in waste from all over the county and neighbouring counties was unacceptable. "I don't want to see South West Devon becoming a waste ghetto."
Yealmpton resident Janet Chapman said it would be plonking down a monstrosity in the landscape, which would be sacrilege.
Councillors refused the application because of the potential loss of ancient woodland and the visual impact of the energy-from-waste building, with its twin stacks, plume and lighting.
The proposed access road could not be integrated into the landscape without eroding the tranquillity and seclusion of a wooded section of the Yealm Valley.
Gary Streeter, the MP for South West Devon, said the refusal was "very good news".
Viridor has the right to appeal against the decision, but Mr Streeter was confident of victory. "Now the Devonport incinerator is going ahead, it would be unusual for there to be two incinerators within ten miles of each other."
Mr Ellard said later: "Viridor is naturally disappointed. The site is clearly identified as suitable for waste management in the council's Waste Local Plan, and we still believe it is an appropriate location.
"Local businesses will increasingly require cost-effective waste treatment solutions as landfill costs continue to increase.
"We will be considering the reasons behind the refusal and our options in the coming weeks."