Council quashes plan to dump asbestos at Stowey Quarry

Plans to dump potentially hazardous waste in Stowey Quarry have been quashed after council officials were told they could face a judicial review.

Resident David Elliott told Bath and North East Somerset Council he was prepared to take the fight over the former quarry site to the High Court.

Mr Elliot was told the council would now "look very differently at any application considering the evidence".

Campaigners were worried asbestos could leach into nearby Chew Valley Lake.

Previously councillors had approved plans for asbestos - which could include the more dangerous blue or brown variety - to be dumped in Stowey Quarry.

A meeting of the Liberal Democrat-controlled council on Wednesday said it would now take steps to quash the planning application. A judicial review would have involved a court considering whether the council had exceeded its authority.

In a statement the council said it accepted that the site notice and newspaper advert did not wholly comply with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations.

"A member of the public reading the notices would have been unlikely to realise that the proposal was for EIA development and would therefore be unaware of their right to inspect and comment upon the environmental statement at an early stage in the process.

'New application'

"Correspondence which the council has received since permission was granted indicates that local residents were unaware of the precise nature of the proposal and their right to participate in the environmental decision-making process.

"Therefore, the council's development control committee has decided to agree to quash the permission it granted in July 2011 in the High Court. Once the legal process to do this is complete, the planning application will be properly advertised and redetermined by the council.

"Members of the public and stakeholders will have the opportunity to give their view about the application once the proposal is readvertised."

Campaigners were concerned about the possibility of nearby Chew Valley Lake - which provides drinking water for Bristol - becoming contaminated.

Bristol Water, which had objected to the proposal throughout the planning process, saying it was "inappropriate", welcomed the decision.

The company had previously said the plans would "result in a material increase in risk to our water resource at Chew Reservoir".

Spokesman Jeremy Williams said he was pleased with the outcome so far.

"We still maintain this objection," he said. "If there is a new application we will object on the same grounds."

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