Warrington Clinical Waste Treatment Centre Appeal Proposed Outline Evidence of Alan Watson

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Town and Country Planning Act 1990



Alan Watson B.Sc (Hons), C.Eng

Public Interest Consultants

For a public inquiry into



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Planning Inspectorate Reference APP/T1600/A/13/2200210

Local Planning Authority Reference 12/0008/STMAJW

October 2013

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Appeal under Section 78

Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010

Site address:

Land At Javelin Park, Bath Road, Haresfield, Stonehouse


Description of Development:

Proposed development of an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility for the combustion of non-hazardous waste and the generation of energy, comprising the main EfW facility, a Bottom Ash processing facility and Education/Visitor Centre, together with Associated/Ancillary Infrastructure including Access Roads, Weighbridges, Fencing/Gates, Lighting, Emissions Stack, Surface Water Drainage Basins and Landscaping.

Appellants Name:

Urbaser Balfour Beatty

Unit F, Pate Court 2nd Floor, St. Margarets Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4DY

Appeal Reference:


Prepared by:

Alan Watson C.Eng

Public Interest Consultants

Uplands Court

134 Eaton Crescent





07432 630 261



1. Introduction 4

2. The application and the proposed incinerator 7

3. Planning Policy 13

1.The Objectives of the Waste Framework Directive: 13

2.National Planning Policy 14

3.The National Planning Policy Framework (‘NPPF’) 14

4.Waste Strategy 2007 16

5.Local Planning Policy and the Development Plan 18

6.The Waste Core Strategy 19

7.Planning and Pollution Control Regimes 20

8.The Waste Hierarchy 21

9.Renewable Energy 23

4. Landscape and Visual Impacts 25

11.Future Extension? 29

5. Need 31

12.The Gloucestershire Waste Core Strategy 32

13.The Need for residual MSW Treatment Capacity: 35

14.Most Recent Residual MSW Data 35

15.Recycling Rates: 36

16.MSW Waste Growth 45

17.Decoupling? 51

18.Residual Commercial and Industrial Waste: 53

19.Existing and planned waste provision by others: 60

20.Conclusion: 65

6. Renewables; Carbon Emissions and CHP 66

21.Renewables: 66

22.Accounting for Biogenic Carbon: 70

23.Carbon Emissions 75

24.Combined Heat and Power (‘CHP’): 83

7. Priority Consideration of Alternatives: 88

8. Perception of Risk 90

25.The Evidence of Public Concern: 90

26.Support for the Application: 90

27.The Case Law Relating to Public Concern: 90

28.Planning Guidance and Public Concern 93

29.Planning Policy Statement 10: 93

30.The consideration of Perception of Risk at Waste Inquiries: 95

31.Consideration of Risk: 97

32.Characteristics of Processes Associated with Perceptions of Risk 98

33.Anxiety as a health impacts: 99

35.Non-Standard Operating Conditions 103

9. Environmental Statement 105

Annexes 107

36.Annex 1: The WS2007 “One Planet Goal”: 108

37.Annex 2: Recycling, Waste Reduction and Incineration: 113

38.Annex 3 Waste Composition Data for Gloucestershire 117

1. Introduction

    1. My name is Alan David Watson. Since 1996 I have been the Director of ‘Public Interest Consultants’ an environmental consultancy specialising in waste planning, chemicals, energy and permitting issues. I have been a Chartered Engineer since 1986 and have an Honours degree in Engineering. I have previously worked for the Department of the Environment for seven years; as a senior design and installation engineer working on waste and combined heat and power plants and, until 1996, as the senior specialist for Friends of the Earth Ltd. on Industry and Pollution issues.

    2. I have a wide range of experience in the field of waste disposal planning and related aspects of law, medicine and toxicology. I have undertaken research on these issues for many years and been the author of a large number of reports for a range of local authorities, environmental groups, citizens groups, lawyers, MPs and commercial interests and inter-governmental organisations such as UNEP. I also have wide experience of appearing as an expert at many public inquiries and in several judicial review proceedings on behalf of local authority and private clients.

    3. I have also given evidence to parliamentary select committees and to other hearings into waste related issues. I have presented many papers at conferences on planning and pollution related issues and have been a visiting lecturer at several universities. I have also been accepted as an expert on combustion processes by a Florida court and acted as an expert on waste treatment and disposal in UK courts. I have been a member of the statutory Environmental Protection Advisory Committee for Environment Agency Wales and currently sit on the Stockholm Convention Expert Group on Best Available Techniques/Best Available Practices for dioxin and PCB reduction. I also co-chair the Stockholm Convention/UNEP POPs Destruction Working Group of the PCB Elimination Network.

    4. This proof of evidence represents part of the case to be presented by GlosVAIN for Appeal Reference APP/T1600/A/13/2200210 and Application reference: 12/0008/STMAJW.

    5. GlosVAIN is a non-party political alliance of town and parish councils, individuals and organisations in the Severn Vale. GlosVAIN aims to promote environmentally friendly and socially acceptable methods to eliminate, reduce, reuse and recycle waste in Gloucestershire.

    6. This application was described as a proposed development of an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility for the combustion of non-hazardous waste and the generation of energy, comprising the main EfW facility, a Bottom Ash processing facility and Education/Visitor Centre, together with Associated/Ancillary Infrastructure including Access Roads, Weighbridges, Fencing/Gates, Lighting, Emissions Stack, Surface Water Drainage Basins and Landscaping.

    7. The application was unanimously refused by Gloucestershire County Council (‘GCC’) on 10th April 2013. This was in spite of a recommendation for approval in a report prepared by BPP consultants who were retained by GCC to act as the Case Officer.

    8. At the pre-inquiry meeting held on 25th September 2013 the Inspector outlined the main issues on which he expected to hear evidence as:

  1. The national, regional (if appropriate) and local policies that are material to the Secretary of State’s decision (assumption being that the relevant EU Directives have been correctly incorporated into UK statute);

  2. The contribution that the development would make towards the Government’s climate change programme and energy policies;

  3. The need for the development having regard to the likely waste arisings over the operational life of the facility and the likely composition of that waste;

  4. The alternative sites considered;

  5. The alternative waste management technologies considered;

  6. Whether the proposed development would be in accordance with the policies of the Waste Core Strategy, particularly WCS6, WCS10, WCS14 and the other development management policies;

  7. The effect that the development would have on the outlook of occupiers of nearby buildings;

  8. The public perception of the effect that the development would have on the health of the population and the weight that the Secretary of State should attribute to this perception in reaching his decision;

  9. The extent to which the issue of the Environmental Permit has already considered the above issues (including the degree to which the public has had the opportunity to comment) and resolved them.

    1. GlosVAIN made several submissions responding to the planning application. These submissions will form the basis of the evidence that is to be presented at the public inquiry. This proof of evidence contains the submissions to the inquiry in relation to the issues of national and local planning policy, need and waste composition, climate change/efficiency/CHP and public perception of risk.

    2. Since the refusal of planning permission by GCC and Environmental Permit has been issued for the proposed incinerator by the Environment Agency. The objection in this evidence on grounds of health impacts is limited to the extent that they relate to perceptions of risk and obligations arising under the Environmental Assessment Regulations.

    3. I conclude, inter alia, that:

  1. The proposal is far too large for the residual waste needs of Gloucestershire and would lead to increased waste imports to the County.

  2. The proposal would undermine the waste hierarchy and would not be consistent with the objectives of the Waste Core Strategy.

  3. The is an obligation to give “priority consideration” to alternatives which do not produce persistent organic pollutants (POPs). It is clear from the Environment Agency that this is largely a planning function and that the obligations of the European legislation should be discharged by the planning authority.

  4. The proposal would have large and unacceptable adverse effects on the landscape and would be contrary to the development plan.

  5. Any mitigating benefits in terms of renewable energy generation are largely illusory and have been incorrectly assessed by the Appellant

  6. There is a widely held perception that the development poses an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of those communities. Weight can be attached to this perception for the reasons detailed in this evidence.

    1. I therefore recommend that the appeal should be refused.

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