Nottinghamshire Waste to Energy Gasification Project in Doubt as Pickles Scrutinises Plans

A proposed new waste to energy and recycling facility at Bilsthorpe Colliery in Nottinghamshire is in doubt after Local Government Minister Eric Pickles instructed Nottinghamshire County Council not to complete its granting of planning permission to allow him time to take a closer look at it. County Council explained that its Planning and Licensing Committee resolved to grant planning permission to Peel Environmental for the development on 18 November this year after more than four hours of debate, questions and presentations from the public, the applicant and local representatives. The planned waste to energy facility would use the gasification technology to recover energy from waste, which the council said would otherwise have been buried at landfill sites. It would process 117,000 tonnes of waste, recycling an estimated 15% of it and using the remainder to create enough green electricity to power between 10,000 and 23,000 homes per year. According to the council, the centre would go some way towards addressing the 194,000 tonne shortfall in residual waste disposal capacity in Nottinghamshire. However, Pickles has exercised powers under Article 25 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order to allow him to look into whether he should call in the application to determine himself. The Council said that it was informed in of the decision in a letter in which Minister assured it that the matter will be dealt with as quickly as possible and that the Council would be informed in writing when consideration was complete. Council planning chair, Councillor John Wilkinson welcomed the Minister's decision. "For large planning applications with significant public interest, it's not unusual for the Minister to scrutinise a planning committee's decision and I welcome his decision to take a look at it,” he explained. "I know I speak for the whole planning committee when I say that the decision to grant consent, in the face of a lot of concern from the local community, was an extremely difficult one. Ultimately though, if the Committee decides to refuse an application, it must be confident and be able to demonstrate that there are sound planning reasons for doing so,” Wilkinson continued. "I have every confidence that our officers and the committee gave full and proper consideration to the very latest Government guidance in considering the plans and that our decision-making processes were sound,” added the planning chair. The Minister's scrutiny should provide additional assurance to the public that that was the case." The council noted that its committee had originally been scheduled to consider the application at its meeting on 21 October but it was postponed after the Government published new national planning policy and supporting guidance on the disposal of waste just five days before the meeting. It said that the postponement allowed the very latest guidance to be considered as part of the report and committee's deliberations. Pickles previously used the same powers in Nottinghamshire in December 2013 to review the County Council's decision to grant consent for a new surface coal mine at Shortwood, near Trowell. The council noted that on that occasion it was informed in July this year that he did not intend to call in the application, allowing the Council's decision to stand. If the decision to grant planning permission for the Peel Environmental application is ultimately given the go-ahead, it would see the construction of a new waste to energy plant on designated employment land at the site of the former colliery. According to the council, that would create 46 permanent jobs and a further 300 during building works. Read More Planning Starts for 700,000 TPA Waste to Energy CHP Project in London North London Waste Authority is to begin planning and consultation work on the £500 million North London Heat and Power Project – a waste to energy combined heat and power plant able to treat up to 700,000 tonnes per year of residual waste. Irish Minister Outlines Waste to Energy, Recycling & Landfill Diversion Policy at Summit Ireland needs to recover more energy from waste domestically, rather than relying on exports of residual waste, asserted the minister for communications, energy and natural resources, Alex White, T.D. at a recent summit. 28 MW Wood Waste to Energy Project Secures £110m on Merseyside Foresight Group and the UK Green Investment Bank are to invest £110 million in a new 28 MW waste wood to energy Combined Heat & Power facility in Merseyside.