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Wed October 28 2020

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Essex incinerator campaigners get a hearing

13 Oct Campaigners against the proposed construction of a waste incinerator at Rivenhall in Essex are to get their day in court.

The site of the proposed plant
The site of the proposed plant

Represented by law firm Leigh Day, campaign group No Essex Incinerator Limited (also known as Parishes Against Incinerator: PAIN) are seeking to overturn the Environment Agency’s decision to grant a permit for the incinerator.

A judicial review permission hearing will be held at the high court today, Tuesday 13th October. Judges will decide whether the claim should proceed to a full hearing.

Belgian waste management firm Indaver is working with developer and land owner Gent Fairhead & Co to develop a 595,000-tonne waste-to-energy plant in the proposed Rivenhall integrated waste management facility. They were given planning permission in 2010 for a 35-metre stack, but was refused an Environment Agency licence for a stack at that height. It was later refused planning permission for a 58-metre stack, for which it did have an EA licence.

Now the Environment Agency has revised its decision and varied the licence so that it can operate a stack at 35 metres.

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Leigh Day solicitors argue that it is common ground that the usual stack height for this sort of installation would be 70 to 120 metres.  They say the only reason why the developer sought an environmental permit for this lower stack height is because it has been refused planning permission for a higher stack. The lower stack height means that the emissions  released will have a greater impact on the surrounding environment.

PAIN campaigner Nick Unsworth said: “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to explain the importance of our position. It has long term consequences for all incinerators insomuch as it seems to favour developers rather than the environment, is contrary to all intentions to reduce emissions, improve air quality and seems to ignore the  climate emergency we are all facing.”

Leigh Day solicitor John Crowley said: “Our clients have been campaigning against the incinerator for many years and have grave concerns about the effects it will have on the local communities. We hope the Court will see the force of our arguments, and allow the claim to proceed to a full hearing, so that the problems of the permit can be put under the spotlight.”

 A decision on whether to grant a full hearing is expected within weeks, Leigh Day said.

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