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Planning consent saga highlighted in Parliamentary questions

Decisions that have enabled a glass recycler to run a plant in Cheshire for nearly four years were questioned in Parliament last week.

MP Eric Illsley asked what action the Government would take to ensure planning regulations concerning the Quinn Glass plant in Elton and Ince were enforced.

MP Iain Wright responded: It is for the local planning authority to decide in each case the appropriate action. But he added that the Secretary of State Hazel Blears had the power to examine this decision if permission is granted.

The facility, which opened in April 2005, has provoked ongoing indignation among glass processors in the region, which deem its operations unfair competition.

Initial planning approval was granted by the two local authorities involved - Chester City and Ellesmere Port and Neston borough councils. But it was called in for a judicial review where the decision was rejected by the then Secretary of State Ruth Kelly in January 2007. Concerns had been raised about the effects of plant traffic on surrounding roads among other issues. However, the company was told it could reapply.

Quinn Glass appealed, but withdrew its challenge in late October 2008. Earlier, in January 2008, the company had submitted a fresh application, which will be considered by the local authorities in December.

Chester City Council had said it could not take action while the appeal was ongoing. But now it has been withdrawn, the council told MRW, at the same time as considering the new application the council will review the situation of enforcement action.

Failure of the latest application would leave the councils with little time to take action because the plant gains exemption after four years of operations. This will happen in April 2009. Chester City Council has indicated it will not let this happen.

A Quinn Glass spokesman said that the recent application had addressed concerns expressed by the previous Secretary of State.





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