DAY ONE UPDATE • High Court Challenge Hearing into Davyhulme Incinerator
About 20 members of the Breathe Clean Air Group and the local community turned up at Manchester Civil Courts of Justice on Day 1 of Trafford Council’s Appeal against Peel Energy’s controversial proposal for a waste wood incinerator plant.
The purpose of today was for a Judge to assess if the Government’s Inspector came to the right conclusion at the Public Inquiry in November 2012, and if the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, made the correct decision to allow planning permission for Peel’s dirty incinerator. Trafford Council, the Secretary of State and Peel were each represented by a barrister. Frustratingly, there was to be no evidence heard about the ill health effects of Biomass and burning wood and general waste.
Trafford Council’s Barrister put the case about the value of waste wood in the Waste Hierarchy. Should it be burnt, should it go to landfill, or is it a valuable resource that should be recycled? How much waste wood is available in the North West and is all of it destined for BREP? He also raised the question of whether the proposed incinerator has sustainability and suggested that the Inspector was not being realistic with the supply of waste wood. He also emphasised that the law requires producers of electricity to provide heat as well as power and that BREP did not show that they had considered this sufficiently.
The Barrister for the Secretary of State drew the Judge’s attention to the Statement of Common Ground that was agreed between Trafford Council and Peel Energy. This covered the capability of BREP for heat as well as power, fuel types, renewable energy policy, reduction of carbon policy, climate change, etc. However, the Judge quizzed the Barrister on the issue of whether the Inspector and Mr Pickles were fully aware of available waste wood. His response seemed to dig himself deeper into a hole.
Then Peel’s Barrister started his submission by quoting four instances where senior judges had placed real value on the Statement of Common Ground and that the Inspector had the power to exercise his judgement. He said the Inspector had made a request to Peel Energy to provide the evidence that they had tried to find buyers for the heat produced by BREP.
Peel’s Barrister will continue tomorrow and following this, Trafford’s Barrister will respond. It is expected that the hearing will be concluded by lunchtime tomorrow. However, it is unknown yet as to whether the decision will be announced then or this will be deferred until a later date.