Cornwall incinerator can be built after appeal ruling

St Dennis incinerator plan
Image caption Sita claims the incinerator will generate enough electricity to supply 21,000 homes

A controversial waste incinerator can be built near St Austell in Cornwall after the government won a Court of Appeal challenge.

Campaigners opposed to the proposed £117m waste-to-energy plant at St Dennis had halted the development plans at the High Court last November.

But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles challenged the ruling and this was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

But protesters have pledged the "fight goes on".

Sita UK, which will run the plant, said they were "a step closer to putting Cornwall's residual waste to good use".

'Disastrous plans'

But one anti-incinerator campaigner Ken Rickard said: "We're very disappointed, and that goes for all of us and the legal team.

"We've already started exploring various avenues. It's not the end, the fight goes on, even to Europe."

Immediately after the announcement, Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell and Newquay tweeted: "Gutted that the Court of Appeal has allowed the incinerator for St Dennis to go ahead, a real blow for Cornwall."

He later said: "At every turn, the local community has made its views clear but Sita and Cornwall Council have ignored local people and forced the plans through the back door.

"I believe that incineration is the wrong technology, St Dennis is the wrong location and one site for the whole of Cornwall is the wrong solution."

He added he would urge the council to look at the "alternatives" rather than go ahead with the "disastrous plans".

But David Buckle, project director at Sita, said: "This is extremely good news for Cornwall which desperately needs the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre to be built and operational as soon as possible, as landfill space continues to dwindle."

Cornwall Council also welcomed the decision.

Decision 'valid'

In a statement it said it recognised that campaigners would be "unhappy" but the decision would enable the council to "take action to tackle the waste crisis facing Cornwall".

It added: "The council will now be working with Sita to finalise the revised project plan."

In 2006, the waste contractor signed a 30-year-contract with the then Cornwall County Council to handle waste.

It came up with plans for the mid-Cornwall incinerator, which it said would also generate enough electricity to supply 21,000 homes.

But in 2009, councillors of the replacement unitary authority rejected the scheme.

Sita appealed against the rejection, which led to a public inquiry.

Secretary of State Eric Pickles granted planning approval, which was challenged by protesters in the High Court.

Last November, Mr Justice Collins ruled the environmental impact of the plant had not been properly considered.

But Lord Justice Carnwath, sitting at the appeal court with Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Moore-Bick, said: "I would allow the appeal and confirm the validity of the Secretary of State's decision."

Opponents of the incinerator have argued the plant would be too big, in the wrong place and could cause health and conservation issues.

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