The decision by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to allow a controversial incinerator to progress to the examination phase was based on a “bogus public consultation”, Friends of the Earth has claimed.
Environmental campaigning charity Friends of the Earth (FoE) criticised Covanta energy’s public consultation phase for its 750,000 tonne Energy from Waste (EfW) facility, for failing to consult local people on the details of its proposals.
FoE planning campaigner Mike Birkin said: “This application should have been rejected - the process denied local people their rights and their voice, and it will destroy jobs and send valuable resources up in smoke.
“The consultation for this incinerator provided no information on traffic levels, air pollution, wildlife or health - people living near Merthyr are still in the dark.”
The campaign group is now calling on the IPC to hold a series of special hearings in order to allow local people to put questions to Covanta regarding the application, because the forthcoming examination phase of the planning process only allows for written questions, rather than cross examination.
Birkin said: “This decision sends the wrong signal to developers across England and Wales, that they can ignore the views of local people on major projects set to go ahead in their own back yards.”
However, Covanta energy has denied the claims.
A statement from Covanta said: “As part of our application to the IPC we complied fully with the relevant regulations and guidance regarding pre-application consultation and took extensive steps to engage local communities in the formal consultation days held in June of last year. This included engaging the media, local opinion formers and distributing 25,000 letters to local households with details of when the consultation days were taking place.”
According to the statement, relevant information concerning traffic levels, air pollution, wildlife and health was “readily available” at the consultation days.