Trafford Council’s legal challenge against the construction of Barton Renewable Energy Plant (Davyhulme Incinerator) is to take place in a High Court hearing in February.
Trafford Council is taking on Eric Pickles, the Conservative Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who overruled the Trafford Council Planning Committee’s unanimous refusal of planning permission for the Incinerator and gave permission for Peel Energy to go ahead and build it.
The High Court hearing will be open to the public and is currently scheduled to take place on 10th and 11th February at the Civil Justice Courts, Spinningfields, Manchester. The specific court room and times are yet to be confirmed.
Court dates and times are usually only confirmed by the court the day before the planned hearing, so members of the public wishing to attend the hearing should regularly keep an eye on the website www.BreatheCleanAirGroup.co.uk and Twitter Account @BCAGtrafford for starting times and any last minute changes.
Proceedings are very legalistic and no witnesses or new evidence are taken. The Judge will have read the papers and will consider the matter based upon the submissions that each party’s barristers have made before the hearing. The Court will not tolerate any disruption or an attempt from the public to make their own views heard.
The Breathe Clean AIr Group said,
“Time and time again, the Trafford community have said that this dirty incinerator is unwelcome in Davyhulme. We have fought together at every step to protect our health and that of future generations. This hearing may be the final chance we get to send the clear message that we stand solidly together to stop this being imposed upon us.”
The Barton Renewable Energy Plant would burn approximately 200,000 tonnes of biomass annually – much of it waste wood – generating electricity to power up to 37,000 homes for at least 25 years.
The site of the proposed incinerator is on the Trafford side of the Manchester Ship Canal. Its emissions of nitrogen dioxide would affect high concentrations of housing and many schools in both Trafford and Salford.
Threat to local democracy
The High Court hearing is a result of Trafford Council’s vote to mount a legal challenge to the decision by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to override Trafford Council Planning Committee’s unanimous refusal of Peel Energy’s planning application to build the waste incinerator in Davyhulme.
The planning committee voted against the application because of the damage to public health that the incinerator would pose. Their decision went against the Council planning officials’ recommendation to councillors that they should approve the plans.
Condemning Eric Pickles’ decision, a Trafford Council meeting passed a motion that,
“This Conservative Government decision flies in the face of the thousands of local people who have campaigned against and opposed this Incineration plant. The decision runs contrary to the definition of `Localism’ and belies any notion of local democracy and the strong wishes of our community. In light of the above Trafford Council agrees to appeal the decision of the Secretary of State through the Court.”
The Breathe Clean Air Group, backed by Trafford Council and Salford Council, has been fighting the incinerator for over three years, producing evidence that the Environment Agency gave the plant a permit based on flawed evidence.