Cabinet fully understands the considerable public concern that has been generated over several years by the application for a Small Waste Incinerator (SWIP) at the Belmont Site.

The planning application was initially refused by the Planning Committee, but was approved by a Government Planning Inspector after a lengthy public inquiry.

Approval of an environmental permit for the site is usually a technical matter which would be determined by officers. On this occasion, we asked for the decision to be brought to Cabinet and also sought an independent consultants report.

Both the Council officers and the consultants report have concluded that there are no valid legal and technical reasons for refusing the permit, and we have regretfully agreed to this.

We know that residents will be very disappointed but ask you to understand that the council is only able to act within the law of the land.

There are significant conditions attached to both the planning permission and the environmental permit. In addition, other activities on the site are monitored by the Environment Agency.

We have asked officers to bring back proposals to Cabinet members setting out how all of these conditions will be monitored, including any additional resource requirement. And we are also asking them to step up broader monitoring and review actions to address the air quality concerns in Sowerby Bridge.

This application has demonstrated the weaknesses in the current legislation surrounding the planning and licensing of incinerators, and the leader will be writing to the Government setting out our concerns on this and supporting the case being made for changes to the legislation to provide tougher controls on both existing and future waste incineration facilities.

If we are to achieve our net zero goals, we all need to maximise repair, reuse and recycling, so incineration should not form a long term part of the national strategy for dealing with waste.

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