BREAKING NEWS: Covanta challenge is rejected by High Court

b11-795  Protest against Covanta, Stewartby Village Hall.  JE   wk 27
b11-795 Protest against Covanta, Stewartby Village Hall. JE wk 27

The High Court today rejected a challenge to the UK’s first development consent order (DCO) approving controversial plans for an energy from waste facility at Stewartby in Bedfordshire.

One of the country’s top judges, Mr Justice Mitting, dismissed a judicial review challenge brought by FCC Environment (UK) Ltd against the DCO.

It has been granted to Covanta Energy for them to develop an electricity generating station together with a materials recovery facility and other associated development at the Rookery South site.

The Rookery South (Resource Recovery Facility) Order 2011 was made by the Infrastructure Planning Commission in 2011, and confirmed by a Joint Parliamentary Committee in 2013.

FCC had challenged the Order, and the decision of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change not to change or revoke it.

It claimed that the decision to award compulsory acquisition powers in respect of it was flawed as a result of a failure to provide adequate reasons for concluding that there was a compelling case in the public interest.

And it claimed that the Secretary of State had failed, in light of the delay between the making of the Order and its finally coming into force, to consider whether it was necessary to update the environmental information available to him.

It argued that this was necessary to ensure that the Order was based on “current knowledge” as required by European and domestic law.

However, the judge disagreed.

Covanta is proposing to construct and operate a Resource Recovery Facility at Rookery South Pit, a former brick clay extraction pit, near Stewartby.

The main components will comprise of an Energy-from-Waste Facility and post treatment Materials Recovery Facility), which will be capable of using household and business waste, leftover after recycling and composting, as a fuel to generate heat and electricity.

Covanta claims the unit should produce sufficient electricity to meet the needs of Bedford and the Marston Vale, a total of about 82,500 homes, with a possibility of supplying surplus heat to nearby

developments such as The Wixams.

However last May Covanta announced it was putting the Stewartby site up for sale along with its two other UK sites, after it only manage to secure one potential customer for its Bedfordshire scheme.