Communities secretary Eric Pickles has given the go-ahead to the construction of a £500m incinerator in Gloucestershire, the first time his department has ruled in favour of an energy-from-waste project in more than a year.
The secretary of state has upheld an appeal by developer Urbaser Balfour Beatty after missing a December deadline.
The company was awarded a contract in 2013 to build the facility at Javelin Park near Haresfield, but in March 2014 Gloucestershire’s planning committee blocked the application after political changes on the authority.
A 310-page document detailing the reasons for Pickles’ approval mentions “a number of matters [that] weigh in the balance in favour of the appeal proposal”.
They include the contribution that the EfW project would make to the Government’s overall energy policy and climate change programme, diversion of waste from landfill and the need for residual waste recovery capacity.
The document also says the secretary of state attributed “some weight” to the consequences of dropping of the project.
Pickles found that the EfW plant would bring “substantial public benefits”, which would outweigh the potential harm that the facility would cause to some heritage sites in the area.
He granted planning permission for an EfW plant, a bottom ash processing facility and education centre, together with associated infrastructure including access roads, weighbridges, fencing, gates, lighting, emissions stack, surface water drainage basins and landscaping.
The decision can be challenged at the High Court within six weeks.
The move marked the first time the department for communities and local government has ruled in favour of an EfW project in over a year.
The secretary of state also turned down plans for another development in Hertfordshire in July.
A delay in granting approval for a facility in Norfolk, the King’s Lynn scheme, triggered the demise of the project in March.