Sita Cornwall incinerator move overturned by High Court

Image caption,
Cornwall Waste Forum said it was delighted with the judge's decision

Campaigners have won a legal challenge to block the building of an incinerator in Cornwall.

The £117m scheme at St Dennis was refused by the former county council, but the government overturned the decision.

A High Court judge said on Thursday the government had not properly considered whether an environmental assessment had to be carried out.

Waste firm Sita UK warned delays could raise costs to more than £200m.

Cornwall Council, which took over from the county council in 2009, said the decision would cost the council about £1m a month in extra landfill and haulage costs.

Judge Mr Justice Collins said that when Communities Secretary Eric Pickles overturned the county council's decision, he had not properly considered whether the EU Habitats Directive required special assessment to be carried out before permission was granted.

Sita UK said the judgment gave the company "considerable concern".

Project manager David Buckle said: "It is important that the scheme is able to progress, as without it Cornwall is facing an enormous waste problem."

The judge gave the government permission to take its case to the Court of Appeal.

He said: "The problem that faces me is that the Habitats Directive and regulations are the law and must be obeyed."

Cornwall Council said it would be "pressing for an early resolution as further delays will not only extend uncertainty over this process but could prove financially disastrous for people in Cornwall".

It said each month's delay would cost the council about £1m in landfill tax and haulage costs, "creating serious implications for the council's budget".

Stephen Gilbert, Liberal Democrat MP for Newquay and St Austell, said the "hugely welcome" decision was "a victory for people power".

Image caption,
Cornwall Council said delays could cost it about £1m a month

He said: "Today's news from the High Court represents a great result for St Dennis.

"It's time for Cornwall Council, Sita and representatives from our local communities get around the table and think again."

Ken Rickard, chairman of the Cornwall Waste Forum which took the case to court, said: "We're over the moon, delighted.

"Justice has been done and democracy has been upheld."

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