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Provisional green light for Newhaven incinerator

Planners in East Sussex have given a provisional go-ahead to an incinerator proposal for Newhaven.

The county council said today that Veolia Environmental Services would be allowed to build the North Quay plant, providing that the government does not demand a say in the project.

Planners have said that subject to a legal agreement with Veolia and provided the government does not call it in, the Newhaven plant proposal is "acceptable"
The project, which would see about 210,000 tonnes of waste processed each year, has already been cleared by the Environment Agency.

The council's planning committee set 44 conditions for the proposed plant, and Veolia will be required to sign a legal agreement to ensure that issues such as dust, noise and construction do not have an adverse impact on neighbouring residents.

An agreement on vehicle movements, site monitoring and the landscaping of the local area also has to be reached.

Secretary of state Ruth Kelly now has 21 days to decide if she wants to "call in" the project for a possible public inquiry, although this period can be extended.

Councillor Michael Tunwell, chairman of the planning committee, said: "The Planning Committee took great care to consider the comments made in response to consultation on the proposal, as well as the technical assessment of the application. In the end the committee was satisfied that the proposal was acceptable in planning terms."

Veolia received a Pollution Prevention and Control permit for the proposed facility by the Environment Agency in November 2006. The company applied for planning permission in November 2005, but the planning hearing was slightly delayed by a second public consultation last month, because East Sussex county council was concerned the project might conflict with its new development plan (see story).

The proposed plant forms a central part of Veolia's 15-year waste disposal contract with East Sussex county council and Brighton & Hove council.

It is being designed to generate 16MW of power ? enough electricity to power the equivalent of 16,500 homes.

John Collis, project director of Veolia, said of the planning decision: "The approval of planning today recognises that this facility is a crucial part of the strategy to recover value from waste, and reduce the amount going to landfill. Waste is an incredibly valuable resource and energy recovery facilities have a critical role to play, together with recycling and composting."

As with any incineration project in the UK, the Newhaven proposal has attracted protests from some local residents. Campaign group Defenders of the Ouse Valley and Estuary claimed that more than 11,000 objections were made to the incinerator.

Related links:
East Sussex county council
Defenders of the Ouse Valley and Estuary
A petition set up on the Prime Minister's website attracted 503 signatories prior to the planning committee hearing today.

In its petition, the group said: "The incinerator proposed by East Sussex County Council will dominate the town of Newhaven with two chimneys towering over 230 feet high, the main building of the incinerator will be over 100 feet high and more than 500 feet long. The site is on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in a valley which is between the two halves of Newhaven."

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