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Day 15 - 17th January 2014

posted 20 Jan 2014, 14:43 by planning users   [ updated 20 Jan 2014, 14:43 ]
The day started with Dr Stephen Carter in the witness box as expert witness for UBB’s Heritage matters. He was cross examined by GCC QC, Mr Moules, regarding the degree of harm he could attach to individual buildings and monuments. 

This was followed by re-examination by Mr Phillips Qc for UBB and reference was made to Strategic Objective 5 which includes references to cumulative impact (which is exactly the point emphasised by English Heritage in their objection).

However the Inspector did mention that he wanted to say something and he proceeded to advise that he read WCS14 as being in three parts. 

‘The only certainty is that, because Javelin Park is not within AONB, we can stop reading the policy after the 3rd bullet point. You are either in the general landscape in which case the 1st paragraph applies, or in the setting of the AONB in which case the 2nd paragraph applies. Does this development affect the setting of the AONB? If it’s affecting the setting, the first paragraph does not apply – so the way UBB’s Mr. Philips QC put questions to Mr. Wyatt of Stroud DC, I thought incorrect – he said even if we do have significant effect, if it is outweighed by benefits it will be outweighed. The way I read the policy you wouldn’t get to that point because it does affect the setting. Mr. Elvin QC for GCC used words ‘adverse effect’ – but this policy is just ‘affecting’. If UBB’s Mr. Smith has accepted that this affects the setting of the AONB, permission can only be given if it meets all 3 bullet points because they are linked by ‘and’.’ 

(This is a significant directive as it confirms the interpretation of WCS14 to be the same as that position taken by Ben Gilpin back in 2012 after he had received the objections from Natural England and English Heritage.) 

Mr. Stephen Othen then took the stand and ably led by Mr. Phillips QC for UBB tried to convince us all that because the EA had issued a permit the incinerator was safe! 

Our Alan Watson cross examined and asked how many changes came from the 14 months of public consultation to the design and how emission levels would be monitored – the answer was an unsurprising ‘None’ which showed that the whole effort had been to tick the box, and that every one who had attended had actually been wasting their time. 

Mr. Watson explored why continuous monitoring of emissions would have helped the public have more trust in the Incinerator and then spent some time in questions relating to what would happen during shutdown periods. Mr Othen first said that they would fill the pit but the permit states it should be emptied !! 

Other important points raised were regarding the fact that at Barton Bridge the stack had been reduced to 44.5m by reducing the NOx levels so why could UBB not tried to have used the same technology here. And finally why did UBB not think of reheating the plume gases to reduce the size of the plume.