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Second Ardley EfW application reflects “current energy policy”

A second planning application to build an energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Ardley, Oxfordshire, has been submitted by Viridor to reflect “current energy policy”.

The second application was submitted in May, before the conclusion of a public inquiry into the first application for the same site.

The result of the public inquiry into the 300,000-tonne-a-year site at Ardley Fields Farm, which concluded in July, is not due from the communities and local government secretary until the end of this year at the earliest. But Viridor is now also waiting to see if its second application will be approved by Oxfordshire County Council’s planning committee in the interim.

Viridor communications manager for the south east Victor Perez-Mares told MRW: “We submitted our first application back in 2008, which is quite a long time ago now, so we wanted to submit a revised application that reflected some of the changes in policy since then.

“We felt it was important that we provided as much information as possible, not just about the facility itself, but also the implications of this facility for the wider community.

“We have not made any changes to the actual facility in the new application and the capacity has remained exactly the same.”

Oxfordshire council has accepted the second application and it will now go forward to a planning committee meeting. Perez-Mares said: “We will still await the secretary of state’s decision on the first application, even if our second application is approved by the planning committee, and then depending on the outcome of that we will then decide what to do.”

The proposal to develop an EfW on the Ardley site has faced fierce opposition from local residents and campaigners, who have concerns about there not being enough residual waste in Oxfordshire to feed the facility. According to Perez-Mares, this should not be an issue.

He said: “The facility is flexible and can deal with commercial and industrial waste as well, not just municipal residual waste. Other countries that have very high recycling rates also have high levels of incineration of their residual waste, so it is not necessarily a case of one cancelling out the other.”

Commenting on Viridor’s submission of a second application, Bucknell Parish Council member Hazel Watt, who opposes the facility, said: “In my personal view I would say that Viridor has made a second application because it was aware that there were lots of holes in its first application.

“We will continue to fight this and demonstrate our opposition through all the official channels.”

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