Inquiry into controversial incinerator in Sowerby Bridge delayed until November

Belmont Industrial Estate, Rochdale Road
Belmont Industrial Estate, Rochdale Road

It is looking likely a planning appeal which will determine whether a Calderdale company can operate an incinerator at its premises will not be settled until the end of the year at the earliest.

Calderdale Council Planning Committee refused Calder Valley Skip Hire permission to operate a small waste incineration plant (SWIP) at its Belmont Industrial Estate, Rochdale Road, Sowerby Bridge, site, and to vary some of the site’s existing conditions of use.

A public inquiry into the appeal opened at the start of April and was scheduled to have finished at the end of the week.

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But, headed by Planning Inspector Ian Jenkins, it will reconvene later this year while the company, which is appealing against the decision, submits a revised Environmental Statement and the council can consult the public further on the additional information that statement might contain.

Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Resources, said: “The Calder Valley Skip Hire planning appeal has been adjourned until the end of November 2019.

“This is to allow time for Calder Valley Skip Hire to submit a revised Environmental Statement, as requested by the Planning Inspector.

“Once the council has received the updated statement, we will carry out further public consultation on the additional information submitted.”

The application has proved controversial, attracting opposition from all political parties, MPs Craig Whittaker (Con, Calder Valley) and Holly Lynch (Lab, Halifax), petitions and protests and generating more than 1,000 responses on the council’s planning portal, mainly objecting to the plans.

At the inquiry’s opening at Halifax Town Hall Mr John Barrett, for Calderdale Council, said the two hectare site was about one kilometre from Sowerby Bridge.

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In December 2017, councillors decided to refuse the application with main issues including its impact on Air Quality and quality of life with air quality a key factor, he said.

Sowerby Bridge has been declared an Air Quality Management Area because national air quality standards are not being met there, said Mr Barrett.

The proposal would result in an increase in pollutants which would impact on the AQMA.

The appellant’s case was that the impacts were negligible.

Mr Satnam Choongh, for Calder Valley Skip Hire, said the SWIP site was at an established waste management facility regulated by the Environment Agency.

If the appeal was successful, the result would deliver several environmental benefits.

Less waste would go straight to landfill, which would also reduce the number of lorry movements needed to transfer it off site positively affecting the Air Quality Management Area.

The process involved producing heat which could also be used as an energy source, he said.

SWIP permission did not mean waste going on site solely for the purpose of incineration, only residuals on the site, said Mr Choongh.

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