The Vale of White Horse District Council believes a proposed mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant is not necessary and will be visually detrimental to the area.
A meeting of the council’s development control committee resulted in objections to the plans put forward by Waste Recycling Group (WRG) for a 220,000 tonne capacity MBT plant.
The local authority’s Mineral and Waste Local Plan states that there must be an established “overriding” need for reuse or recycling plants in the area. However, the district council is arguing that because Viridor is building its energy from waste facility in nearby Ardley, it “proves that there is an alternative suitable site available within the county, albeit for an alternative form of waste treatment. While this facility has not yet been built, the permission disproves any argument that there is an overriding need for an MBT facility”.
It also objected because the earmarked site at Sutton Courtenay is classed as an urban fringe/open gap “which should be protected from development which would harm its rural character”. Therefore, because the building will be visible from Wittenham Clumps “it will be seen as an incongruously large structure in the rural landscape”.
WRG submitted the application for the plant after losing out on becoming a preferred bidder to deal with Oxfordshire’s residual waste. When bidding for the contract, WRG originally selected the site to build an EfW facility but this was rejected. Viridor’s application to build an EfW facility in Ardley was also rejected, so WRG decided to continue with the planning process as a contingency plan for the local authority in case the Viridor facility did not go ahead.
According to a WRG spokesperson, the waste management firm believes the MBT facility would still be able to treat London waste that is sent to Oxfordshire to be landfilled.
Oxfordshire County Council will make the final decision on the planning application next year.