The planning application to expand the existing composting facility at Mopes Lane, and retain the temporary bridge in perpetuity is coming up for determination. Whilst the applicant no longer wishes to use the site jointly, for tyre recycling, this does not mean that it is a simple quid pro quo for an increased amount of green waste. This is because the overall carbon balance between tyre collection and green waste transportation are quite different.
This is not just about a bit of green waste composting. It is really about making the temporary link over the railway a permanent feature. It was only meant to be temporary (for 14 years or so) to align with the closure of the landfill. By using the composting application to make it permanent means that land south of the railway could be open to further industrial development.
The temporary nature of the bridge was a key factor in the decision to allow the original application. The central problem with retaining this bridge permanently is that it opens up the area of land beyond the composting area to further development and, by incremental change, also will not be subjected to formal impact assessment. We have already seen this approach with the applicant who applied for a concrete batching application some years ago which was in essence to establish a right to an industrial process on the site. The application served its purpose establishing that right; the permission was never taken up.
In addition, with the passing of the recent “Climate Emergency” motion by Wiltshire Council, the Council will seek to make the County of Wiltshire carbon neutral by 2030. It has requested the Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee to set up a task group of the Environment Select Committee to develop recommendations and a plan to achieve this pledge. The consequence of this is that the continual trucking of green waste from elsewhere in the county to the far north of the county would be non-compliant with the Motion or the resulting Decisions.
So, the application should be refused on two grounds; the temporary bridge cannot be made “permanent” without an Environmental Impact Assessment and secondly, the application is contrary to the recent decision on climate neutrality, made by the Council.
Comments concerning this application should be submitted citing the reference number 15/00401/WCM (Retention of existing composting facility, access and increase in throughput at Parkgate Farm Waste Management Facility, Purton) directly on the Wiltshire Council web site here.
Comments need to be in by 5 pm Thursday 21 March (this week).