A planning application was lodged last year with Bristol City Council for a 50mW, palm oil powered, electricity generating station (See here my previous blog). As noted this would result in the destruction of tropical forest six times the area of Bristol, with appalling environmental, social, and greenhouse-gas consequences.
Photo: Randwick Woods
The planning application was rejected, 6 votes to 2, by the Bristol NW Planning Committee, citing grave doubts about the sustainability of the fuel source and the greenhouse gases associated with its production, distribution, and use.
There is now a campaign to fight the appeal by W4B against the decision. The papers have just been sent to the Secretary of State for local government Eric Pickles, but political opinion is shifting against this scheme and others like it, and we need to keep up the pressure, so please do your bit to help! For further information see the ACSEB web-site www.acseb.co.uk
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government, will (with his staff) decide on whether to allow the appeal, by 22 December. Many of us fear that the Inspector will recommend the appeal be allowed (meaning that the power-station can be built and will earn £36 million in subsidies for the shareholders). There is still an opportunity to lobby against this decision.
Here is my email based on a campaign email to Eric Pickles and our local MP Neil Carmichael: eric.pickles(at)communities.gsi.gov.uk
Dear Secretary of State,
Planning Appeal APP/Z0166/A/10/2126342/NWF
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 - Appeal by W4B Bristol Ltd
Site at Sevalco Ltd, Severn Road, Chittening, Bristol, BS11 0YU
I wish to draw your attention to the above planning appeal. The planning application was rejected, 6 votes to 2, by the Bristol NW Planning Committee, citing grave doubts about the sustainability of the fuel source and the greenhouse gases associated with its production, distribution, and use.
I urge you to reject the appeal for the following reasons:
1. This proposal for a 50mW, palm oil powered, electricity-generating station, with the palm oil being shipped from SE Asia, would result in the destruction of tropical forest six times the area of Bristol, with devastating environmental, social, and greenhouse-gas consequences.
2. The Inspector, Trevor Cookson, ruled at the pre-appeal hearing that the origin and sustainability of the fuel was not a ‘Material Consideration’ under planning law. He based this on one sentence from Planning Policy Statement PPS22. This same document contains a caveat that it is ‘not policy’ and is a technical guidance document and thus is not law. Cookson’s interpretation means that for planning it would be illegal to ‘think globally and act locally’. This is contrary to common sense and to the government’s policies of devolving more decision making to the local level and their policy of being “the greenest government ever”. I believe that the Inspector’s ruling was a breach of due process.
3. Local MPs from all three leading parties oppose the scheme including: Charlotte Leslie (Con.) Dr. Liam Fox (Con.) Stephen Williams (Lib Dem), Jack Lopresti (Lab.) and Kerry McCarthy (Lab.)
4. You have received a petition from the villagers of Hallam, near the site, signed by 260 people from only 140 households. They can witness that there was no local consultation about the proposal – contrary to the Arhus convention.
5. Barbara Janke, Leader of Bristol City Council, has written to you to oppose the scheme. If it goes ahead it would in one step destroy Bristol Council’s unanimous resolution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020. It is thus against Bristol’s local plan.
6. An examination of the file will show that large numbers of residents wrote to oppose the scheme. The on-line petition to the Council shows 424 objections were local, out of a total of 514 valid entries. The statements in favour were in single figures.
Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward