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High Court Backs Waste Transfer Station

A couple opposed to plans for a waste transfer station near their Essex home have failed in a High Court challenge to the grant of planning consent. John and Sandra Hockley had asked the Court to quash Essex County Council’s decision to grant permission for the facility in Great Dunmow.

The Hockleys feared that lorries carrying tonnes of waste to and from the site would add to traffic congestion, noise and fumes in the area and argued that planners should have required that a full environmental impact assessment be carried out before consent was granted.

The couple’s lawyers also submitted that the Council had failed to take into account the cumulative impact of the scheme and other proposed developments in the area which were likely to impact on traffic, including road junction works and a major housing development.

However, in dismissing the challenge, the Court stated, “The approach taken by the Council to screening the proposed development was appropriate and lawful. The screening opinion was not defective through the omission of any potentially significant effect on the environment that ought to have been considered. This is not a case of an unlawful failure to consider cumulative effects.”

The Council had taken the view that no significant effects were likely to arise in terms of odour or discharges from the facility, while impacts on air quality and noise from additional traffic were also properly considered. Arguments that the scheme represented a departure from the local development plan – which had earmarked the site for a civic amenity centre that would focus on recycling – were also rejected.