On 19 March 2015, approval was given by Surrey County Council to SITA Surrey to commence the construction of the Eco Park. This was despite objections by Spelthorne Borough Council and local councillors.
ECO PARK: our position and the facts (spring 2016)
From the start Spelthorne has been totally opposed to the ‘Eco Park’ incinerator development. It is being promoted by Surrey County Council (SCC).
I would like to reassure you that the Spelthorne Council has acted in the past in support of residents and it still acting now. Whilst the plans are still in place, this is the responsibility of the County Council and not the Borough Council and any comments would be more properly addressed to your local County Councillors, or the Portfolio Holder at the County, County Councillor Mike Goodman.
This is what Spelthorne Council and your Councillors have done for residents:
- We has “Very Strongly Objected” to the SCC planning application throughout
- We sought external legal advice for a judicial review of the planning application
- We asked the Secretary of State to call in the planning application for a Public Inquiry
- We opposed the second planning application and again this was a “Very Strongly Objection”
- We opposed the issuing of a Permit to Operate and issued a judicial review against the EA (with Surrey CC and SITA joined in as parties), this led to them withdrawing the application
- We sought advice from counsel to review the procurement strategy employed by SCC and SITA
- Kwasi Kwarteng, our local MP, has liaised consistently with residents and Spelthorne Councillors on this matter. He consistently opposed the Eco park development and continues to do so. He led an adjournment debate in the House of Commons in September 2011 to highlight local opposition to it at the highest level.
- Your local Councillors have been heavily involved with the opposition to this project and have been working closely with the residents’ groups opposing the project.
- Cllr Richard Smith-Ainsley was present at both the Public Inquiries into the re-routing of the footpath alongside the site and provided verbal and written submissions to the Planning Inspector conducting the inquiry hearings
- On the current revised planning application we again reiterated that we ‘Very Strongly Objected’ to the Eco Park
- Kwasi formally wrote to the Secretary of State in June 2014 to request that he urge restraint in granting approval for the development. Kwasi has consistently voiced concerns about the encroachment onto the Green Belt, the unproven technology and potential impact on the local community of the proposed development
- On the current revised Permit we have employed a specialist consultant and have made detailed environmental representations. Your Councillors obtained beneficial changes to the Permit for you
- Cllr Richard Smith-Ainsley assisted residents in ensuring that a Judicial Review they were issuing against Surrey County Council could be submitted
- Objections to the Planning application and the recent by the Judicial Review submission have delayed the project. The County Council have to carry out another ‘value for money’ assessment on the Eco Park. This was expected to be concluded in February, but the delays have put this back to April. All the delays were due to Councillors and residents wanting to ensure that the residents’ concerns were addressed
- Throughout this process your Councillors have spent thousands of hours, actively representing you and challenging the County Council on your behalf. Prioritising the Eco Park opposition has detrimentally affected our political relations with the County Council overall, but it is still the right thing to do
- Along with your local Councillors I am extremely proud of what this Council has done and is doing to support residents.
- Councillors are still concerned about the safety and viability of the Eco Park and we are seeking further details on several aspects of the development to ensure it is safe.
I think our track record speaks for itself.
Cllr Robert Watts CEng., MICE., MCIWEM., MBA
Leader of the Council
Brooklands Radio interviewed Councillor Robert Watts, Leader of the Council on 19th March 2014. The ECO Park is discussed approximately 23 minutes and 40 seconds into the interview. To listen to the interview click here
Also see the news items:
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