Campaigners lodge Stewartby incinerator plan with the High Court

Covanta protest
Covanta protest

Villagers fighting controversial plans for a incinerator in Stewartby have lodged their case with the High Court.

The campaign group Bedfordshire Against Covanta Incinerator (BACI) have lodged their claim bundle with the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Administrative Court.

And this could be the first step to getting planning permission reversed by Britain’s most senior judges.

Nicola Ryan-Raine, chairman of the BACI, said: “It all comes down to this now.

“It’s incredible really. The Environment Agency had never had as many submissions as they did when they started their consultation about this scheme.

“People feel really strongly about this issue.”

The saga of the energy from waste incinerator goes back nearly a decade.

Covanta’s plans are for a facility capable of converting about 585,000 tonnes of household and business waste into 65MWe of electricity every year, built at a disused clay pit near Stewartby.

The story appeared to have come to an end in January when the Environment Agency issued a permit for the plant.

However campaigners immediately began their legal efforts to overturn the decision.

They had three months in which to lodge a claim with the High Court, which will be directed at the Environment Agency rather than Covanta.

Once lodged the agency has 21 days to reply, before BACI send their reply to that.

A judge will then decide whether the case can go to judicial review and, if so, a final decision is now not expected until October or November.

Nicola added: “That’s a significant step, but if the judge gives us permission then we’ll know that not only do we have a very good case but we have a good chance of winning.

“It’s a big hurdle, and as with anything there are no guarantees. But we know that we have a good case.”

>BACI need your help in raising funds for their campaign.

The current part of the case will need around £25,000 to complete, although they have already raised more than £9,000 of that.

And the second stage of preparing for the court appearance and the appearance itself will need another £25,000.

Find out more at https://trib.al/s2Sc2PH