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Application to Dispose of Another 4.6 Million Tonnes of Waste at Sutton Courtenay Exposes Lakes Fallacy

The following notice appeared in the Oxford Times on 1st December 2006




Radley Lakes campaigners say that this planning application shows that there is an alternative to dumping pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from Didcot ‘A’ Power Station in Thrupp Lake at Radley – in the form of 8 million cubic metres of landfill space at the Sutton Courtenay Landfill Site, just a few metres north of the Power Station. PFA from Didcot is already being disposed of at the site.The Sutton Courtenay Landfill Site is operated by Waste Recycling Group Ltd (WRGL). They have applied to Oxfordshire County Council to vary conditions on the existing planning permission for the landfill site, granted in 1996. One condition requires the site to close by 31 December 2012. The current planning application says that, when WRGL applied for planning permission in 1996, they underestimated the amount of space at Sutton Courtenay by 4.6 million cubic metres.

Because the landfill site is so much larger than originally thought (there is around 8 million cubic metres of space remaining) and because the amount of waste going to landfill is falling as a result of recycling policies, WRGL is asking Oxfordshire County Council to extend the life of the site from 2012 until 2021.

In addition, they are applying to increase the amount of waste transported to the site by road by 150,000 tonnes per year beyond what would currently be permitted. At present, WRGL import 350,000 tonnes per year by road. From 2007 this would have been reduced to 200,000 tonnes per year. The application requests that this be maintained at 350,000 tonnes per year.

The decision, by Oxfordshire County Council, to grant planning permission to RWE npower, who operate Didcot A Power Station, to use Thrupp Lake at Radley for PFA disposal was made for fear of adding far less lorry traffic than this to Oxfordshire’s roads. Thrupp Lake has a capacity of only 500,000 tonnes and is supposed to take 9 years to fill. Moreover, the planning permission was predicated on the assumption that there was no alternative suitable disposal route and, in particular, that there was no space available at Sutton Courtenay.

The space that has apparently been overlooked is huge, approximately nine times the capacity of Thrupp Lake, and it is right next to the power station! Who knew about this and why have they kept silent all this time?

If you wish to make representations on these points, then you need to send them to Richard Dudding, Director for Environment and Economy at Oxfordshire County Council preferably by 22 December 2006. However do not be deterred if you have missed the deadline. Make you views known  anyway.


[Update 17/01/2007]


The matter will be decided by the Oxfordshire County Council Planning and Regulation Committee at its meeting on 26th March 2007, so there is still plenty of time to write in about this.


[Update 3 May 2007]


Oxfordshire County Council have postponed consideration of this until the meeting of the Planning and Regulation Committee on 21st May 2007, pending, they say, further consultations.


[Update 22 May 2007]


At yesterday’s meeting, Oxfordshire County Council’s Planning and Regulation Committee granted full permission to Waste Recycling Group to extend their operations at Sutton Courtenay in accordance with their application, thus releasing about half a million additional lorries onto Oxfordshire’s roads. (This is the number of lorry movements that is now permitted over and above what would have been permitted.) Moreover there were no provisions to ensure that PFA from the Power Station would be disposed of at this site, instead of in Thrupp Lake, apart from a minor concession involving relief from the Sustainability Levy on any PFA taken from the Power Station.The motion to grant the permission was carried on the slimmest of margins. The Committee were evenly divided over whether to grant now or defer to allow further consultations and assessments. The motion to grant was carried on the casting vote of the newly-re-elected chairman, Steve Hayward.

The motion went against SEERA’s recommendation that the plans should not be approved unless and until the Committee were fully satisfied that the expanded operations and additional traffic were absolutely necessary. It was clear from the debate that this was not the case.

Taking the 500,000 tonnes of PFA destined for Thrupp Lake would have saved about 50,000 lorry movements.

Other Links relevant to this story

Oxford Mail 21 May 2006

Herald 24 May 2006

Oxford Times 25 May 2006

Permanent link to this article: https://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/application-to-dispose-of-another-4-6-million-tonnes-of-waste-at-sutton-courtenay-exposes-lakes-fallacy/