Judicial review decision over controversial Sowerby Bridge incinerator ‘by end of year’

A legal decision over whether a judicial review seeking to quash a controversial council Cabinet decision to grant an environmental permit for a small waste incineration plant to operate in Calderdale could be made by the end of this year.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 1:08 pm
Calder Valley Skip Hire, Belmont Waste Recycling Centre, Rochdale Road, Sowerby Bridge

Calderdale Council’s Head of Legal and Democractic Services, Ian Hughes, told councillors at what stage the process was at when he was outlining priorities for the year ahead to members of the authority’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board.

Coun Jacob Cook (Con, Greetland and Stainland) asked what legal issues the council was involved in currently.

Mr Hughes said members would be aware there was a judicial review claim which sought to quash Cabinet’s decision to grant an environmental permit for a small waste incineration plant.

“That is currently submitted to the court.

“It is an application made by an individual on behalf of a group that is interested in that particular area.

“The council has responded to that and made its case.

“The judge will decide whether there is a requirement for a full hearing,” said Mr Hughes.

He said it was expected this might be determined at the end of this year or into next year.

Earlier in the year, legal representatives for the Benbow Group, who have campaigned against Calder Valley Skip Hire’s plans to operate the incinerator at its Belmont site in Sowerby Bridge, and having raised money to fund their case through crowdfunding, wrote to the council warning it might apply for a judicial review.

In February, the Cabinet approved the company’s application for an environmental permit for the site, and this followed Calder Valley Skip Hire’s successful challenge to the authority’s refusal of planning permission, with a Planning Inspector allowing that application on appeal, that decision being announced in January 2020.

The group seeks an order quashing Cabinet’s decision to grant the permit, an order quashing the environmental permit itself and that the council pays the claimant’s costs.

The grounds for challenge include a question of law, and assertions over assessment of harm and safety tests.

In other legal areas, Mr Hughes told councillors the council, like others, regularly dealt with personal injury claims and was involved in employment tribunal cases.