INCINERATOR: Our future could have been destroyed

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To the great relief of residents who have fought a long battle to protect their village, South Holland District Council has denied planning permission for a biomass incinerator proposed for Sutton Bridge.

The application, first put before the planning committee in May 2013, was granted planning permission with little scrutiny or debate.

The council officers’ reasons for finally rejecting the application applied in 2013 as much as they do today

A subsequent court ruling overturned the council’s decision. Now South Holland District Council has finally

reversed its original decision and denied planning approval.

The council officers’ reasons for finally rejecting the application applied in 2013 as much as they do today. The court judgement that the planning approval was unlawful is clear evidence of this. The myth of biomass as a ‘green’ source of energy is largely discredited. Burning vast amounts of wood, toxic emissions and explosion hazards show that it is part of the problem not part of the solution – evidence that was constantly dismissed by the planning committee.

It is of grave concern that the planning committee and its officers failed to grasp the issues or take their responsibilities seriously.

It was left to residents of Sutton Bridge and to local organisations to do the research and present the evidence which was instrumental in the eventual failure of the application. Throughout, the planning committee dismissed the concerns raised by village 
spokespeople with contempt and those in the public gallery attending the planning meeting with open disdain.

At committee stage, some planning committee members freely admitted a lack of sufficient knowledge and 
understanding of the application and its implications.

Despite this they approved the application.

In sum, the grounds for finally refusing the application are sound. The planning committee has finally done the right thing and refused the application. If the committee members and council officers had listened to the objections raised in 2013 they could have saved the council tax payer the costs of a court case.

The fight against the biomass incinerator was a collective effort by many residents of Sutton Bridge, local action groups – Sutton Bridge Against the Gasifier, Wash and Sutton Bridge Protection Group, Bridge Against the Incinerator – as well as Bridge Watch, Sutton Bridge Parish Council and neighbouring parish councils. Local residents signed petitions, lobbied their MP and wrote to the council to express their opposition. The local community pulled together to stop our village being used as a dumping ground for inappropriate and harmful industrial development in the agricultural Fens .

If the people of Sutton Bridge had not continued to fight and if Shirley Giles had not taken the council to court to get the planning permissionoverturned, then the future of a rural historic part of Lincolnshire’s could have been destroyed.