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Eco Sustainable Solutions' greenbelt incinerator at Hurn secures planning consent

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PLANS for a new energy-producing incinerator on greenbelt land near Bournemouth Airport have cleared the first hurdle after being approved by BCP Council’s planning committee.

Despite fierce opposition from over 700 residents, the scheme by Eco Sustainable Solutions was backed by councillors.

Planning officers advised the site would help generate low-carbon heat and electricity and save thousands of HGV miles by processing waste locally.

An artist's impression of the plans
An artist's impression of the plans

A new access to Chapel Lane will serve administration buildings and a car park and a green waste composting area will be repositioned to the east of the site.

The new energy recovery facility (ERF) will still need to secure consent from the Environment Agency before work can begin.

Once complete, the ERF will include a 38-metre emission stack which will process an extra 60,000 tonnes of waste each year, generating heat and electricity.

Planning officer Sophie Moorsley said the site was allocated in the Local Plan to help manage waste but acknowledged it technically constituted inappropriate development in the green belt.

Opponent Susan Chapman claimed that BCP Council was relying on outdated planning policies. She said: “The precious greenbelt should be sacrosanct – why are we complicit in concreting the natural world in a time biodiversity is vanishing terrifyingly fast?

Objector David Barnes warned councillors would be judged by future generations if they granted permission.

He declared: “You will have received an extraordinary number of objections highlighting the extensive public health, climate and wildlife consequences that flow from the approval of this application.”

Concerns were expressed about the impact on young people at nearby Portfield School.

But speaking in support, scheme agent Alan Hanafy said the site was chosen after a comprehensive research by the local planning authorities.

He added: “This process demonstrated the Eco site is the optimum location in the waste plan area for an ERF.”

Justin Dampney, from Eco Solutions, said there was a “clear need” for the facility as currently around 35% of local recycling waste was transported to London or Bristol or buried in landfill sites elsewhere in the country.

He continued: “Currently this local leftover waste is loaded into HGVs clocking up hundreds of thousands of avoidable additional waste miles.”

Stating the application had taken seven years to develop, Mr Dampney, said Eco Solutions had worked tirelessly to make the impact of the scheme “as low as it could be”.

Cllr Simon Bull said: “I am very concerned about the schools nearby, There doesn’t seem like there has been much assessment of these impacts, especially the autism specialist school Portfield that is dealing with young people who we have a huge duty of care to.”

Cllr Anne Stribley said the current site was clean, efficient and well run, adding: “The Environment Agency is the responsible authority for air pollution – we are the planning committee and we are looking at the use of this site and the proposed building on it.”

Proposing the scheme for approval, Cllr David Kelsey described it as an “on-balance” application with many pros and cons, adding: “This facility is there – the application is to make it bigger. But it is there already.”

Cllr Toby Johnson seconded the recommendation, stating: “We don’t particularly want these sites in the green belt but given that this one has been there for a great deal of time.

"I think it is far more preferable that the site be slightly intensified and made more efficient than it would be to create an entirely new site somewhere else that I believe would cause far more harm.”

The scheme was approved by nine votes to four.

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