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Plans for Bilsthorpe energy plant called in by Pickles

Community secretary Eric Pickles has called in Peel Environmental’s £70m recycling and energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s planners approved the application for the Bilsthorpe Energy Centre on a former colliery site in November, with Pickles indicating immediately afterwards that he wanted to review the decision.

Now a Department for Communities and Local Government letter to the council says Pickles will decide if the application is consistent with the area’s development plan and whether or not it conforms with the National Waste Management Plan for England and the National Planning policy Framework.

When Pickles first indicated he would be considering the scheme, Nottinghamshire’s planning chair, Cllr John Wilkinson, said: “For large planning applications with significant public interest, it’s not unusual for the minister to scrutinise a planning committee’s decision and I welcome his decision to take a look at it.

“I know I speak for the whole planning committee when I say that the decision to grant consent, in the face of a lot of concern from the local community, was an extremely difficult one. Ultimately though, if the committee decides to refuse an application, it must be confident and be able to demonstrate that there are sound planning reasons for doing so.

“I have every confidence that our officers and the committee gave full and proper consideration to the very latest Government guidance in considering the plans and that our decision-making processes were sound. The minister’s scrutiny should provide additional assurance to the public that that was the case.”

Also at the time, Richard Barker, development manager for Peel Environmental, said: “Over the past two years we have worked hard to develop an application that carefully considered all aspects of the Energy Centre. 

“Delivering the Bilsthorpe Energy Centre will not only help divert waste from landfill and widen the sources from which we get our energy - it will also create new jobs, supply chain opportunities and boost the local economy by around £4.3m per year.”

The EfW scheme includes a materials recovery facility to filter 22,000 tonnes of recyclables each year and a gasification facility to turn the remaining 95,000 tonnes of waste into electricity.

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