Veolia ‘disappointed’ as Hampshire rejects Alton EfW

Veolia has expressed disappointment after its application to replace an existing materials recovery facility (MRF) in Alton with an energy from waste (EfW) plant was rejected by Hampshire county council.

An artist's impression of the EfW plant, which was to replace an existing MRF

Veolia submitted its plans for the 330,000 tonnes per annum capacity EfW plant in July 2020 (see letsrecycle.com story).

The facility was to be based near Alton, on a site where waste management company Veolia already operates a MRF.

A council meeting which took place on 23 February ended with a majority of the councillors voting against permitting the planning application.

The six-hour meeting concluded with 12 Regulatory Committee members voting against and only three in favour [updated 25 February].

Councillors on the committee concluded that Veolia’s proposals would have a “significant adverse impact” on the character of the area, the wider landscape, and visual amenity.

They said that the proposal did not demonstrate a special need for its location, and that the suitability of the site could not be “adequately justified”.

A Veolia spokesperson told letsrecycle.com: “We are disappointed by the Regulatory Committee’s decision, and we will now take some time to consider our next steps for the project.”

Planning permission

Veolia has already received a draft environmental permit from the Environment Agency for the facility (see letsrecycle.com story).

The EfW plant would have been built on the site of the existing MRF

And, the vote came just a week after a report compiled by Hampshire’s development planning manager, Lisa Kirby-Hawkes, recommended that “subject to confirmation that the Secretary of State does not intend to call-in the application for determination, planning permission be granted” (see letsrecycle.com story).

The plant has been the subject of differing opinions, having polarised residents and businesses. As a result, a campaign group called No Wey Incinerator Action was formed, the aim of which was to persuade the council to reject any planning application.

No Wey Incinerator Action, backed by Conservative East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds, wrote to the secretary of state urging him to call in the plant last August (see letsrecycle.com story).

The group’s concerns about the plant were mostly of an environmental nature, pointing out that the plant would be close to the boundary of South Downs National Park, and would generate pollution due to the increased traffic in the area and emissions generated by the plant.

Support

By contrast, one of the few councillors voting for the building of the plant was Councillor Lance Quantrill.

We have 330,000 tonnes of rubbish headed somewhere in Hampshire and we’ve seen the analysis – there isn’t another place suitable to put this

– Cllr Lance Quantrill

During the meeting, Cllr Quantrill said: “On balance I think I will support this application because I think it’s the right thing to do.

“We have 330,000 tonnes of rubbish headed somewhere in Hampshire and we’ve seen the analysis – there isn’t another place suitable to put this.

“Given all the arguments, for me this is the place where it has to be so I’m going to be supporting this application.”

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