Cornwall

St Dennis incinerator given go-ahead after appeal

Waste
Image caption Mr Robertson had said the authority would have lost £320m if the plans had not gone ahead

A minister has given the go-ahead for an incinerator to be built in Cornwall.

Secretary of State Eric Pickles backed Sita UK's appeal against the decision of the former county council to refuse permission for the St Dennis project.

It comes as the leader of Cornwall Council confirmed he wrote to Mr Pickles urging him to back the plans.

Alec Robertson said the authority 15292820 would have lost £320m if it did not go ahead because of costs already incurred, cancelled contract payments and taxes.

Commenting after Mr Pickles' decision was made public, Mr Robertson - who had previously opposed the incinerator - said it was the "least worst option".

He added: "Looking at the situation Cornwall-wide, the results of not getting the appeal upheld were so disastrous that the benefits far outweighed the detriments I'm very sad to say."

He had earlier warned Mr Pickles of "dire consequences" if the appeal was dismissed.

The Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre (CERC) had been referred to a public inquiry, which was held earlier this year.

It referred the final decision on planning permission to the Secretary of State who announced his decision on Friday.

St Austell and Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert said people in St Dennis and the surrounding area would be "furious".

Liberal Democrat MP Mr Gilbert, who has consistently opposed the incinerator, said: "Having one site to serve all of Cornwall's waste will generate hundreds of additional lorry movements across our roads.

"It's the wrong solution in principle and St Dennis definitely isn't the right place."

'Devastating' verdict

Pat Blanchard, chairwoman of the St Dennis Anti Incinerator Group (Stig), said it was "absolutely devastating that the secretary of state has gone against the wishes of the local community".

She said: "At every single level of democracy in Cornwall this plan has been rejected, but we have a minister in Westminster inflicting this upon us."

Work on the incinerator could now start near St Dennis before the end of the year.

David Buckle, project director at Sita said: "We are very pleased to have received a positive decision from the Secretary of State.

"We have always believed that the CERC is the best technical, financial and environmental solution for managing Cornwall's waste."

Councillor Mark Kaczmarek, cabinet member for planning, said: "The decision to refuse planning permission was taken by the planning committee of the former Cornwall County Council.

"Cornwall Council planning officers have put forward a solid defence of this decision through the appeal process, and we will now note the outcome of the inquiry and move forward."

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