Halifax MP Holly Lynch has called on the Environment Secretary Michael Gove to intervene as Calderdale Council looks to defend its decision to reject incinerators planned on either side of Sowerby Bridge.
The MP has backed the Council’s decision to reject applications for the two incinerators – a move which has cross party and community support – but the applicant has now appealed, meaning the council could face exorbitant legal costs defending its decision.
Should the applications be successfully appealed the two incinerators would both be within 750 metres of an air quality management area and close to local homes and schools.
In an open letter to Mr Gove, see below, Ms Lynch argues that the current planning framework makes it impossible to take into consideration the cumulative impact on air quality of two incinerators, which would be situated in the same valley and only a mile apart.
She also criticises the current guidelines for considering planning and environmental applications.
Ms Lynch said:
“Years of government cuts to local authorities have seen the enforcement capabilities of councils all over the country seriously undermined, whilst they are simultaneously being stripped of the planning and environmental expertise needed to fully consider applications.
“In addition to this, the current regime for determining these applications is wholly inadequate, as no consideration is going to be made of the cumulative impact that two incinerators in close proximity could have on air quality. The Environment Secretary should set up a public inquiry which can examine the impact holistically.
“I am deeply concerned about the possible health impact for local people given the well documented problems associated with particulate matter and other pollutants.
“It is clear that there is a national failure to properly monitor and regulate particulate matter from incinerators and the government should consider a moratorium on any future incinerators until this is rectified.”