A council leader has warned of bankruptcy if the city fails to go-ahead with a waste gasification plant as campaigners launched a legal challenge at the High Court.
Councillor Paul Bayliss of Derby City Council told the Derby Telegraph pulling out of the contract to lease land for the Shanks-owned project would bankrupt the city with legal damages.
Over the weekend campaigners from Sinfin, Spondon and all Against Incineration (SSAIN) and Derby Friends of the Earth confirmed they had lodged a High Court challenge against the planning inspectors’ decision to grant permission to the controversial facility in September, after a second public enquiry.
A spokesman for Shanks, owners of developer Resource Recovery Solutions (Derbyshire) Ltd (RRS), confirmed the legal challenge had been launched but said he could not comment further until the firm understood the basis for the challenge.
The City Council’s planning committee originally turned down RRS’s planning application, a decision that was upheld on appeal. But RRS went to the High Court and won; triggering a further planning enquiry.
Bayliss told the local paper that the previous Conservative administration wrote to RRS in March to confirm it would cover the costs of the public enquiry, which ran around £1m.
“I have sought a second legal opinion and, basically, I’m in a position that, if we don’t go ahead, I will be bankrupting the council because of the legal damages”, said Baylis.
Delays, he added, were currently costing the county around £1m a month in lost savings.
A statement from SSAIN chairman, Simon Bacon, said: “The parties engaged Richard Buxton Solicitors of Cambridge, England to review aspects of the ruling issued by Mr Robinson and the returned legal opinion was that there was a case to be made against the ruling.
“To this end a challenge was issued at the high courts of justice in London, England on 2nd November 2012.”
A spokesman for Shanks said: “A legal challenge to the planning inspector’s decision has been submitted to the High Court.
“We are in the process of reviewing the detail of this challenge with our legal counsel. We are unable to make any further comment until we understand the basis for the challenge but we will issue an update in due course. “