Plans for 'asbestos dump' at Stowey Quarry refused

Protesters outside Bath Guildhall on Wednesday Campaigners demonstrated outside the Guildhall in Bath prior to the meeting

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Plans to use a quarry in Chew Valley, near Bristol, to dispose of hazardous waste - including asbestos - have been unanimously rejected by councillors.

Bath and North East Somerset Council planners had recommended the application be refused.

They said it had not been demonstrated that the quarry was an "appropriate location" to dispose of asbestos.

An application had been made to use the site to bury 150,000 tonnes a year of waste over a 10-year period.

Campaigners feared asbestos could leech via springs into the Chew Valley reservoir which is about 1.2 miles (2km) from the site.

'Right decision'

Speaking after the council's development control meeting, Lucy Pover - from Stop Stowey Quarry Action Group - said the decision "reflected the weight of public opinion".

"It's been a long hard fight over the past year - we feel the council has reached the right decision," Ms Pover added.

Conservative councillor Vic Pritchard, who represents Chew Valley South, said it was great news but acknowledged the decision "might not be the end of the matter".

"If the applicant decides to appeal (against) this decision... we'll continue to oppose the plans and take our arguments to the planning inspector," he added.

Planning permission was originally granted in July 2011 but later quashed in the High Court after the council was told the application had not been advertised in accordance with Environmental Impact Assessment regulations.

Consultants Oaktree Environmental, which was working on behalf of its client, then sought to develop the application.

A company spokesman said no comment could be made until further discussion had taken place with the applicant.

Two Bristol Labour MPs, Kerry McCarthy and Dawn Primarolo, had also written to Bath council planners after being contacted by concerned residents.

The North East Somerset Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, is also supporting opponents of the scheme. In August he handed a petition containing more than 4,000 signatures opposing the scheme into the local authority.

Utility company Bristol Water said it also considered the use of Stowey Quarry as a waste disposal site as "inappropriate" which represented a "risk to the long-term quality of the water resource at Chew Valley Lake".

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