Campaigners against Whitemoss extension have said the Champion predicted what would happen at site
CAMPAIGNERS against the Whitemoss hazardous waste extension have said a Champion front page in 2002 about a Green Paper that proposed that Parliament and not local councils will be able to grant planning permission for major developments predicted what has happened in the town at the site.
ARROW has added that Whitemoss bosses were able to use this change in the law when they put in an application for an extension.
Nicola Escott commented: “The predictions made in 2002 came true when in 2014 Whitemoss hazardous waste site used the new legislation. They applied to the Government to override Lancashire County Council’s decision to stop them from building a massive extension.”
However bosses at Whitemoss have pointed out “Lancashire County Council never had an application for planning permission for the extension to consider or reject.”
Nicola Escott added: “The Government ignored local democracy. Both Lancashire County Council and West Lancashire Borough Council said the Whitemoss hazardous waste extension was not needed, but they were over ruled by the Secretary of State. Since then, the only way of stopping this unnecessary landfill site and the health risk it creates is to go to court. A local resident has been taking legal action since 2015.”
An appeal is about to be made to the Supreme court. If the case is won, other nationally significant infrastructure projects across the country are likely to be required to prove their development is needed.
Jo Lunt Taylor from the campaign group No Whitemoss Landfill commented: “Nearly £17,000 is needed in legal fees. Even if the resident gets legal aid, the community is expected to contribute 65% of the costs. This is a massive bill for a community like ours. If anyone knows of any organisations or individuals who can help, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Whitemoss boss Rob Routledge responded: “Whitemoss was legally obliged to make an application to the Planning Inspectorate for the extension to the landfill site rather than to Lancashire County Council. Lancashire County Council never had an application for planning permission for the extension to consider or reject.
“There was an extensive consultation process that included an Examination in Public before three independent planning inspectors. ARROW were represented throughout that process.
“Following the granting of Development Consent in 2015 ARROW applied for and had a Judicial Review at the Appeal Court in March 2017.
“The Appeal Court Judges that heard the case and subsequently refused the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court last month are Lord Justice Lindblom (the most senior planning Judge on the Appeal Court), Lord Justice Ryder and Lord Justice Irwin.
“The statement of need is not a ‘trump card’ that means all applications should be granted, a balance must be struck with potential adverse impacts of the proposed project – and in this case a balance was struck.
“Environment Agency data does not show evidence of a huge overprovision of hazardous waste landfill in the North West. Whitemoss Landfill is the only operational hazardous waste landfill in the North West.
“Landfills such as Whitemoss are required for the safe disposal of recycling residues. Without them there would be less recycling not more.
“Considerable public expenditure and Court time has already been wasted. In the unlikely event that the Supreme Court allows an application for leave to appeal any subsequent decision would not be likely before 2020.
“Such a clear and unequivocal decision from the Appeal Court should draw the legal process to a close so that Whitemoss Landfill can continue the important role it plays in managing waste safely for the communities we serve.”