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Buckfastleigh campaigners face new fight over waste plant

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 16, 2012

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Campaigners have vowed to fight an appeal by developers determined to build a waste processing plant on the edge of Dartmoor national park.

Plans by MVV Environment to create a bottom ash processing plant at Whitecleave Quarry, in Buckfastleigh, were turned down by Devon County Council in April.

The scheme – to process ash produced by an energy-to-waste plant now under construction in Plymouth – prompted a fierce local campaign, including a parish poll which saw 95% of voters against.

Opponents fear the plant could cause damage to the economy, the environment and wipe up to £10 million off the town's assets.

An appeal has now been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate, the company revealed yesterday.

Neil Smith, co-chairman of the Buckfastleigh Community Forum, said he was surprised by the announcement but hoped the original committee decision would be upheld.

Mr Smith said: "Clearly we are going to fight and we have all the democratic institutions on our side. But the system fills me with horror rather than confidence as it is skewed towards corporate developers – I have seen democratic decisions utterly torn apart in Plymouth with dubious decisions."

In March more than half of Buckfastleigh took part in a parish poll to say they did not want the facility, ahead of the crunch decision. A massive cheer went up inside and outside the committee room at Devon County Hall, when the plan was defeated.

MVV Environment Devonport yesterday said that despite local opposition, the planning application was recommended for approval by council officers and none of the technical and statutory consultees objected to the application.

It claims the development will not have a significant adverse impact on residents.

Careful landscaping design will also mean that the development will be well screened from general view, the firm said.

Paul Carey, managing director of MVV Environment Devonport Limited, said: "We have considered our options over the past five months and remain convinced that the Whitecleave Quarry site is the best available.

"Our lawyers have been in contact with Devon County Council to seek clarification of the reasons for refusal prior to making the formal appeal."

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