Greens celebrate as incinerator plans rejected

27 November 2009

Oxfordshire County Council's Planning Committee has today refused planning applications for incinerators at Sutton Courtenay and Ardley. Only the Greens have consistently opposed the County's plans for incineration instead preferring alternative mechanical and biological treatment methods.

Mark Stevenson, Chairman of the Dorchester Carbon Project and prominent local green activist, was the first speaker to address the Planning Committee. "The incineration proposals fail to meet the needs and interests of our communities, our District Council collection authorities and the County Council disposal authorities" he argued.

The County Council themselves admit that of all the options "incineration is the least favoured among the public"1. Whilst Dorchester on Thames is piloting the Towards Zero Waste scheme, the Dorchester Carbon Project is just one of twenty six similar community action groups in the county all working to reduce waste and improve recycling. "People hate waste, here in Dorchester people are constantly telling me how little they now put in their residual waste bin" Mr Stevenson said.

Both incinerator proposals were ultimately rejected because there were significant problems with the choices of site. "I am delighted that the proposals were rejected," Mr Stevenson continued, "but it is not enough to say that there are problems with each of the proposed sites. We need to get the County Council to recognise that incineration is not necessary at all, that we can find better ways of reducing residual waste and avoiding landfill."

Whilst praising the councillors on the Planning Committee for making the right decision, Mr Stevenson also expressed concern "Several of the Councillors clearly hadn't done their homework and asked questions that showed they had neither properly read the applications nor fully appreciated the planning policies by which they should be judged. This was a contentious issue, involving more than a hundred million pounds of the Council's money and determining the Council's approach to waste for decades to come. I would expect our Councillors to make themselves well-informed."

Note that the County's Waste Strategy still supports incineration - so future plans could still be accepted.

1. Oxfordshire Minerals and Waste Strategy, Appendix 2, Annexe D.


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