Almost nobody would want a waste plant near their home but the weight of rubbish created by the modern world means that they have to be built somewhere. In a case which illustrated the point, the High Court has approved plans for a residual waste facility in the Somerset green belt.
The scarcity of waste handling facilities in the west of England had brought together four local authorities and planning consent for the plant was granted as part of their joint strategy. However, a group of local objectors challenged the decision, arguing that it was based on a flawed officer’s report.
One part of the site was already occupied by large and unsightly industrial buildings and another was used for the unauthorised stockpiling of waste. Councillors took the view that the development would be an improvement on the existing position and would cause no significant harm to the green belt.
The objectors argued, amongst other things, that planners had failed to consider the site as a whole or to grapple adequately with green belt protection policies. However, in dismissing the challenge, the Court found that the officer’s report had sufficiently addressed the scale, location and appearance of the development and that the decision based upon it was unimpeachable.