Granny scuppers £165million gasifier consent

CONSENT OVERTURNED: Pensioner Shirley Giles has overturned the planning consent for a gasifier at Sutton Bridge.
CONSENT OVERTURNED: Pensioner Shirley Giles has overturned the planning consent for a gasifier at Sutton Bridge.
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A granny has won her legal fight to overturn planning consent for a £165million gasifier at Sutton Bridge.

Shirley Giles (74) took the case to the High Court in London because she believed South Holland District Council had not properly considered the sustainability of the proposal before giving it the green light.

Her solicitors, Deighton Pierce Glynn, say the council “decided to concede the case rather than fight it” after considering the pensioner’s legal arguments.

The court will now be asked to make a fast-tracked judgement overturning the planning permission, but that’s not the end of the story as the council will reconsider the plan.

Mrs Giles said: “We have won the battle but the fight continues. I am calling on South Holland District Council to re-think the impact of the biomass plant on our community, and properly consult the community on any new decision. It makes no sense to burn imported wood for a limited amount of energy.

“I hope that the council will not just rubber stamp the application but will now consider important questions about how efficient at turning fuel into energy this plant actually is. In the view of experts, who have been consulted by my legal team, the proposed plant is an extremely inefficient type of biomass plant.”

Her solicitor, Sue Willman, said: “It is important that the council now looks properly at the planning application and makes a lawful decision, taking into account whether the development is sustainable.

“There are still questions about the viability of the plant – the government last year decided to phase out financial support for this type of biomass because of sustainability issues.

“We are still waiting for the council to provide documents to show the efficiency level of the plant, an essential consideration in any future decision.”

A council spokesman said: “All parties to the judicial review proceedings have consented to a court order quashing the planning permission for EnergyPark Sutton Bridge.

“The council could not be reasonably satisfied that the conditions attached to the permission ensured the development met the tests for sustainable development under the National Policy Framework and therefore the planning application for the development will be remitted to the planning committee for redetermination.”

A spokesman for EnergyPark Sutton Bridge said: “We will be working closely with the council to have the project redetermined as soon as possible.

“EnergyPark Sutton Bridge will have a positive impact on the local economy through new jobs and inward investment. It will also make a vital contribution to the UK’s renewable energy provision, as we seek to reduce reliance on carbon intensive fossil fuels.

“We look forward to making the project a reality.”