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CERC Updates 2009-2010

In March 2008 SITA submitted a planning application for the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre (CERC) which was refused by the Cornwall County Council planning committee in March 2009.

In line with the Sita Cornwall contract and following instruction from Cornwall Council to institute proceedings, an appeal was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in June 2010 against the refusal of planning permission. 

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In May 2011, following a Public Inquiry, Cornwall Council was notified of the decision by the Secretary of State to uphold the appeal by SITA Cornwall against the refusal of planning permission for the proposed CERC and in September 2011, Cornwall Council began construction on Phase 1 of the CERC.

In October 2011, the High Court made the decision to uphold the legal challenge against the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for the CERC. In light of this decision, work ceased on the construction on Phase 1 of the CERC.

The Secretary of State appealed this decision and the hearing was scheduled for the end of February 2012 in the Appeal Court at the Royal Courts of Justice, London. 

On 29 March 2012, the Court of Appeal unanimously rejected the Cornwall Waste Forum's claim in relation to legitimate expectation, overturning the previous decision of the High Court and confirming the validity of the Secretary of State's decision. Cornwall Waste Forum's application to the Appeal Court for Leave to Appeal was refused. Lord Justice Carnwath held that there were no special factors to justify grant of permission to appeal, no realistic grounds for an appeal and the case of legitimate expectation and fairness are domestic law issues rather than European.

The application to grant a stay of execution of the planning permission pending an application to the Supreme Court was also refused. Cornwall Waste Forum applied to the Supreme Court for Leave to Appeal. Read the full judgement from the Court of Appeal

On the 9th July 2012, the Supreme Court issued their decision in relation to the Appeal made by the Cornwall Waste Forum St Dennis Branch. It stated that “After consideration of the application filed on behalf of the Appellant seeking permission to appeal the order made by the Court of Appeal on 30 April 2012 and of the notice of objection filed by the First Respondent, the Court ordered that

(i) permission to appeal be refused. In relation to the point of European Union law raised or in response to the application it is not necessary to request the Court of Justice to give any ruling because the question raised is irrelevant; the Court’s existing jurisprudence already provides a sufficient answer and the answer is so obvious as to leave no scope for any reasonable doubt. The only possible issue is one of English public law, turning on its special facts

(ii) the Appellant pay the First Respondent’s costs of the application and, where the Respondent applies for costs, the costs to be awarded be assessed.”

Following the decision of the Supreme Court to refuse permission to allow the St Dennis Branch of the Cornwall Waste Forum to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision to reinstate the planning permission for the CERC, works recommenced on site in August 2012.

These works, which were approved at a meeting of the Cabinet, were carried out by CORMAC Solutions Limited on behalf of Cornwall Council.

In addition to obtaining planning consent, SITA also had to obtain a permit to operate the plant from the Environment Agency (EA). This permit controls all aspects of daily operation including setting limits on noise, dust, emissions from the chimney, and other impacts. A copy of the permit and the decision documents can be found on the Environment Agency website.