Leaving aside the manifest fact that on the April 17 the lay members of the South Hollanning District Council planning committee were not up to the job of making a rational decision about the Sutton Bridge incinerator plot, one has to question the status and competence of the planning officers.
The essence of planning is foresight: when you plan anything you think of the consequences of your plan—how things will turn out.
To do this you have to consider all factors, not just what you choose to look at and not just what somebody with a loud voice decides is relevant.
Did they, for instance, take into account the fact that biomass technology is dubious – plants have blown up; there is plenty of evidence for this. Would they feel safe living within 50 yards of the proposed installation?
Did they do anything other than take PREL’s word for things? The one per cent increase in traffic is meaningless when you realise that in reality this means one HGV in and out of Centenary Way every six to 10 minutes. Just imagine! The roads will not be empty as they are in PREL’s promotional photos which the planners kindly projected for us to see – badly.
Did they consider that if the incinerator goes ahead PREL might very well make a case for developing the rest of Wingland for making wood pellets, for disposing of fly-ash, for burning household waste? More blighting of Sutton Bridge.
Did they really consider whether there would be sufficient wood in the world to supply the incinerator long term?
The converted Drax plant will require hundreds of millions of tons of wood annually—far more than can be supplied from the UK.
Fallout from emissions, light, noise and transport pollution, destruction of the landscape, decimation of the world’s forests, the unlikely employment prospects, the social fund bribe, the disgusting last minute offer of discounted electricity as though that would make up for all these things...
Did they have the foresight to take all these things into account? I think not. Incompetent planners who seemed not to have any idea what was going on. Is this what planning is about?
Are any of them fit to make a momentous decision such as the dumping of an incinerator in Sutton Bridge?