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Stay of execution for Sita's disputed waste site

A Northumberland landfill site at the centre of a cross-council planning dispute has been given permission to continue taking waste after its deadline to shut. Sita UKs Seghill site was due to close at the end of 2009 but has been allowed to continue to take waste until 30 June 2012 after Northumberland County Council decided to extend its closure deadline.

This decision is linked to the pending outcome of a public enquiry about a proposed physical extension of the site. 

In 2005 Sita proposed to extend the site but North Tyneside Council rejected these plans in August 2008 as the site crossed the councils boundary. A third council Blyth Borough Council also objected to the plans. This led to an Article 14 Notice being served to Sita by the Government last July prompting a public enquiry into the plans led by the Government Office for the North East.

Sita was keen to stress that although the deadline extension decision is linked to the public enquiry it has no bearing on it.  But by maintaining the sites use, the fact that the site has closed cannot be introduced into the public enquiry as a reason to deny planning permission for a physical extension.

Sita UKs planning manager Annemarie Wilshaw said: We need to remember that even after recycling and treatment, some waste will always need to be sent to landfill, and local authorities and regions like the North East need to have landfill capacity.

The previous planning permission for the site ran out at the end of 2009, and we applied to extend this by two and a half years so that it lasts until 30 June 2012.

Explaining the deadline extensions link to the public enquiry, Wilshaw said: We need this extra time [to keep Seghill running] to provide continuity of waste disposal services in south east Northumberland while a planning decision is awaited on the long term future of the landfill site.

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