The day started with the cross examination of Mr Roger Miles by Mr Charlie Hopkins, BCF’s legal representative. Mr Hopkins questioned Mr Miles about the need for additional Construction & Development Waste processing in Devon, sought clarity on how South Devon is defined and whether this need was identified in the Waste Local Plan. Mr Miles stated that the need was set out by Gilpin and there was no other formal evidence other than that implied by the fact that Devon County Council signed the Statement of Common Ground. Mr Miles agreed that estimates of Construction & Demolition (C&D) Waste were assumptions, not based upon a reliable survey, and that levels of C&D Waste are very uncertain and a problem for future forecasting.
Regarding C&D Waste, Mr Miles stated that once it is sorted and processed, the reject [valueless & unrecoverable] materials will be ‘back-loaded’ to Plymouth’s Waste Incinerator and the inert materials will be used to fill in the void of the quarry. Pressing the issue of what materials could be used as infill, Mr Miles agreed that Incinerator Bottom Ash from Plymouth’s Waste Incinerator is not classified as inert. When asked if IBAA is inert Mr Miles did not know the answer to that, he presumed yes. Mr Miles stated materials that can be deposited on the site will be controlled by a permit.
Mr Hopkins then asked Mr Miles about the market for IBAA in relation to the other IBA producing EFW facilities within the locality, and questioned whether there is any shortage of primary or secondary aggregate in Devon. Mr Miles replied there was a shortage of secondary recycled aggregates but agreed there was no evidence to support that. Mr Miles went on to suggest that nearer markets will be more favoured and therefore Exeter would be more likely to buy [recyclced aggregates] out of Buckfastleigh over Avonmouth thus supporting the need for a facility in Buckfastleigh. Again, this was Mr Miles’ opinion and not based upon facts provided. The definition of ‘local’ was once again brought up by Mr Hopkins, in which Mr Miles insisted that a flexible interpretation of the term must be taken.
Questions were raised by Mr Hopkins to Mr Miles about the current fact that there was no contract between MVV and Gilpin, and the necessity of co-location of the processing of both C&D Waste and IBA Waste. Mr Miles stated there were no alternatives and Gilpins were the only ones willing to process IBA Waste. Taking this line of questioning futher, Mr Hopkins asked what would happen if Gilpin wanted to withdraw from a contract with MVV, what is in place in the plans to ensure mitigation measures remain. Mr Miles stated obligations will run with the land; the appellant is MVV and obligations will fall on MVV.
When questioned by Mr Hopkins as to affect on tourism and walking, Mr Miles said a HGV going by wouldn’t particularly affect a person’s enjoyment. Mr Hopkins asked why MVV had not followed guidance and PPS10 with regard to concurrence of the planning application process and the permit process, particularly as this approach facilitates transparency along with integrated and timely decision-making. Mr Miles said sufficient information has been made available for statutory and technical consultees to have raised concerns; the level of information needed was in the Environmental Statement and the local population should have the information they require as a result of this inquiry. Mr Miles could not state when permit(s) would be applied for.
The inquiry then moved on to questions raised by 3 local residents. Their questions focused on the economic impacts upon local businesses and whether Mr Miles took into account any possible negative economic effects of the proposed development. Questions were raised as to whether Mr Miles when undertaking his economic assessment spoke to any of the local business owners, to which Mr Miles responded he had not.
Mr Miles was then re-examined by Mr Mark Westmoreland-Smith. Then the planning inspector Mr John Woolcock raised queries on issues he felt needed further clarification including landbank provision, technical details on flooding and the difference between Moorcroft and Whitecleaves in relation to the infill of their quarry voids.
The conclusion of Mr Miles evidence ended MVV’s case and presentation of evidence before the planning inspector.
The day ended with the start of BCF’s evidence.
First to present evidence was Councillor Denise Rudgley, who is the Mayor of Buckfastleigh and Chair of Buckfastleigh Town Council, with her examination in chief led by Mr Hopkins. She stated that the development is at odds with the town’s future plans, which includes a mixed residential and commercial development and a general goal for economic regeneration. Mayor Rudgley went on further to state that there would be an adverse effect on local amenities as the site is 250 metre at most from recreational parks and leisure facilities. She was also led to bring up the town’s importance as a tourist attraction and skill base with the nearby Dartmoor National Park and other attractions in the close vicinity of the town, such as the historic Caves and Steam Railway. She stated the proposed development would once again have a negative effect upon this trade citing HGV traffic specifically.
The inquiry will continue at 10 am tomorrow with the cross examination of Councillor Rudgley by MVV’s Barrister, Mr Mark Westmoreland Smith and presentation of evidence by Professor Tim Drey on the chemistry of IBA.