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ESA urges ‘responsible localism’ over waste

Communities are being urged to back “responsible localism” if the UK is to meet its waste targets.

The call comes from the Environmental Services Association in the foreword of a brochure ‘No time to waste - planning reform for sustainable waste infrastructure’ examining the issues around waste infrastructure development.

The ESA said the UK needed to invest £10-20bn in waste infrastructure but that the planning system was long and complex and can undermine the economics of a project.  

“Planning by appeal” had become commonplace and drew out the process, it said, and Localism Bill did little to tackle these issues.

Ian Goodfellow managing director of Shanks UK and chairman of the ESA wrote: “We are concerned that the Government’s reforms may encourage communities to believe that they can stop any unpopular waste application in its tracks regardless of its merits.

“If this turns out to be true, Britain will never get the modern, sustainable waste management infrastructure it needs. If this belief turns out to be a misperception, local people may become more alienated from the planning system which is something none of us wants.

“We believe the solution is a more balanced approach, which we have termed ‘responsible localism’.”

In the document the ESA makes the following suggestions:

  • The National Planning Policy Framework must include a more meaningful reference on the role of waste management in meeting the Government’s strategic objectives
  • Planning authorities should form strategic planning partnerships
  • The Government should propose statutory time limits for the preparation and adoption of development plans
  • Business rates and a proportion of CIL should be retained for direct community benefit
  • Planning decisions should be excluded from the scope of local referenda proposed in the Bill
  • Local authorities should be required to publicise the costs to the tax payer of unsuccessfully defending a planning appeal
  • On an annual basis, Defra and CLG should report jointly on progress in delivering waste infrastructure

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