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Government delaying urgently needed waste facility, says industry

Industry figures have expressed their dismay that the Government has reopened the planning inquiry into a £100 million energy-from-waste plant in London.

Based in the London Borough of Bexley, the Belvedere plant will take waste from nine London boroughs and was given approval by the planning inspector at the start of the year (see mrw story).

However, the then-Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said she couldn't decide whether to give the incinerator the go-ahead and the Government has now announced that a second, scaled-down public inquiry will take place in September.

"The need for waste facilities is getting desperate and it is disappointing that this project has taken so long and there is still no decision," said Institution of Civil Engineers waste management board chairman Nigel Mattravers, referring to the original public inquiry that closed in October 2003.

He added: "The Government has said we need waste infrastructure and the landfill targets are getting closer all the time.

"This plant appeared to be a viable way of dealing with some of London's waste, so what's the alternative?"

Waste management firm Cory Environmental will collect the waste to be converted by the plant into electricity and Cory executive chairman David Riddle said: "At the conclusion of the in-depth public inquiry the inspector gave the project a clear green light, so it is frustrating to have to go through the process again.

"This extra stage will hold up what is becoming an urgent decision with regards to managing London's waste in the future."

The scaled-down inquiry will focus on any changes in circumstances since October 2003, as well as whether the incinerator is consistent with Government policy and the London Mayor's waste strategy and how it would affect road and river transport in the area.

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