Any new waste facility should be in an industrial area not in a Valued Landscape, says CPRE Hampshire

24th February 2021

CPRE Hampshire, the countryside charity, submitted a detailed response to Hampshire County Council on the proposed development of the Veolia Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) near the A31 between Alton and Bentley in August 2020.

Expert volunteers from CPRE Hampshire’s South Downs and Central Planning Group concluded that the needs for and benefits of the proposed development do not outweigh the significant adverse impacts on the landscape, environment and local communities, and the planning application should be refused.

CPRE Hampshire also concluded that the adjoining countryside is of such high quality as to qualify as Valued Landscape, which is required to be protected from adverse impacts. They say that if an ERF plant is required, it should be located in an industrial area.

CPRE Hampshire strongly supports the avoidance of landfill by reuse and recycling of waste. Christopher Napier OBE, of CPRE Hampshire, says: ‘We would wish for 100% reuse and recycling of waste, but accept that some degree of energy recovery by incineration of unrecyclable waste is currently needed. This does generate heat and electricity. So CPRE does not in principle oppose energy recovery facilities.

Critical, however, to our approach to any proposal for new energy recovery facility is its location and size, and corresponding impacts on landscape character, visual amenity, and local amenity. Also issues of water supply and disposal, and traffic routes for supply of feed and disposal of ash.’

CPRE Hampshire also looked at the issue of need and is concerned that a large ERF plant replacing the existing Materials Recycling Facility near Alton would lead to a reduction in the Hampshire recycling rate. Hampshire is currently ranked 197th in DEFRA’s local authority recycling league table at only 41.3%.

Additionally, a major issue with ERF plants is the need for a large amount of feedstock on a 24 hours a day basis. This calls for long term contracts for supply waste which has not been reused or recycled, which will deter reuse and recycling and tend to perpetuate release of CO2 into the atmosphere contrary to climate change ambitions.

A consequence of the rural location of the proposed plant is that there is no local demand for the heat recovered from the ERF process, which CPRE Hampshire understands is the majority of the recovered energy, and which will therefore go to waste. Nor is there within the planning application any mechanism for delivery of the generated electricity to the national grid.

To view CPRE Hampshire’s full response, including its Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, please click here: Veolia. CPREH Response.

Update February 2021 – CPRE Hampshire has responded to the further information provided by Veolia in response to Hampshire County Council’s requests for additional information in December 2020. Our response supplements our letter of objection to the application dated 12 August 2020 and needs to be read together with it (see link above).

Overall Conclusion – For the reasons set out in our objection as supplemented by our response of February 2021 (link below), CPRE Hampshire continues to consider that this proposal is not “the right development, in the right place, at the right time”. The need for and benefits of the Proposed Development do not outweigh the significant adverse landscape and visual amenity effects. It should be refused.

CPRE Hampshire’s response to Hampshire County Council 10 February 2021.

The edge of Round Wood on the St Swithun's Way in East Hampshire – a Valued Landscape Christopher Napier OBE