Day 9 of the inquiry started with the cross examination of Councillor and Mayor Denise Rudgley by MVV’s barrister Mr Mark Westmoreland-Smith. She was questioned on matters involving localism, the parish poll, tourism, flooding and traffic matters. She was further questioned on the future plans to develop the local economy via the mixed leisure, commercial and residential proposals. Mr Westmoreland-Smith placed emphasis on the fact that these plans were only in the pre-planning stages.
Questions moved towards the parish poll, in which Mr Westmoreland-Smith wanted to show that the inspector should put little weight upon it due to the fact that local opposition, even a large number of objectors, is not a reason to stop the development. However Mayor Rudgley stated clearly that she knows the new National Planning Policy Framework, the role of Localism in it, that the view of a community carries weight in regard to planning decisions. He then questioned the wording of the question posed in the parish poll (the use of the word ‘industrial’ and no reference to where the waste would come from), and that the question was drafted by the electorate.
Mr Westmoreland-Smith’s questioning included DartmoorNational Park withdrawing their initial objection to the proposed development and the position of the site relative to the town of Buckfastleigh and DartmoorNational Park. Mayor Rudgely stated the site was visible from a number of locations in the town and from the surrounding area, which would affect tourism.
The inquiry then moved towards the re-examination of Councillor Rudgley by Mr Charlie Hopkins in which a defence of the parish poll followed. Teignbridge District Council, as an outside party and greater authority, had no problem with the wording of the question for the parish poll.
The planning inspector asked if there are particular vantages or views in the town or the surrounding area the Mayor wished for him to look at, in regard to sight of the proposed development. A list is to be compiled for the inspector.
After a short break, Professor Tim Drey was called to the witness stand for his examination in chief by Mr Charlie Hopkins (BCF’s legal representative). Professor Drey has been involved in Chemistry research and higher education at various establishments including YaleUniversity, RobertGordonUniversity and University of Winchester. He is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Chartered Chemist. He presented evidence on the toxicity of IBA and diesel fumes. His evidence focused on extremely small particles (PM 2.5) found in diesel fumes and cited numerous studies which pointed to their harmful effects on health. He also presented evidence on dangerous chemicals such as heavy metals and organic molecules (especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) found in IBA (Incinerator Bottom Ash).
He also stated because the UK had failed to adopt the WHO standards on air quality regarding PM 2.5 levels, the Environment Agency’s standards are not rigorous enough. Another point raised was the fact that street sweepings might constitute a part of municipal solid waste (MSW) that will be burned in the incinerator. The thrust of his argument was that none of this was taken into account in MVV’s evidence and thus the proposed development would be more harmful to health than MVV suggest.
This was followed by Professor Drey’s cross examination by Mr Westmoreland-Smith. He questioned the characterisation of Buckfastleigh as a town with poor health and deprivation, pointing to average life and health expectancy compared to the Devon area. Thus suggesting that the population of Buckfastleigh was not usually sensitive to pollution. This was then followed by a re examination by Mr Hopkins of Professor Drey where emphasis was placed upon the danger posed by PM 2.5.
There was a break until the Locals Session in the evening.