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Formal permission for "illegal" mounds of hazardous waste sought

Formal permission for

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Formal permission for "illegal" mounds of hazardous waste sought

Tuesday 11 July 2023

The Government is seeking official approval for two headlands of hazardous waste that it has built without planning permission.

The contaminated mounds on reclaimed land at La Collette are currently 19m above the surrounding rocky seawall at their highest point.

The Infrastructure Department only had formal approval to fill in up to the top of the wall but the headlands – which contain plastic-lined pits containing asbestos and contaminated soil – have grown over the last 20 years.

Earlier this year, the department sought planning permission for an application first submitted in 2016 not only for retrospective approval for the headlands but also to grow them even further.

This was unanimously rejected by the Planning Committee, who argued that the Government needed to first come up with a States-backed strategy on how it intended to deal with contaminated waste in the short, medium, and long term.

Several members branded the mounds "illegal" because they had no formal approval. 

EFW Incinerator 850x500.jpg

Pictured: A separate mound to the north of the incinerator, which was built with planning permission, has already been landscaped.

The group of politicians also told Infrastructure to split its application into two – first seeking retrospective approval and then asking separately to expand.

The department has now done the former. It seeks permission to reduce the height of the northern of the two headlands by 2m to 17m above the rocky wall, and another section, which is currently 10m high, by 0.5m to 9.5m.

However, it also asks to increase the 6m-high southern headland by another metre to 7m, which includes topsoil. 

The application states: “This planning application relates to the existing hazardous waste landfill volumes at La Collette - and the estimated volumes yet to be received in 2023 - and the landscaping and restoration of this section of the La Collette Headland at this stage.

“The headland will be formed by capping the hazardous waste cells in accordance with all regulatory and environmental requirements associated with this, and thereafter filling the surrounding area with residual inert construction and demolition waste not suitable for recycled aggregate and covering with a layer of topsoil and landscaping. 

“On completion, it will provide an area of open public space constituting of a coastal walk and cycle path along the Eastern side of the La Collette perimeter as well as a landscaped mound akin to the character of the area.

“In terms of design, the proposed development has been developed to minimise the impact on local amenity, views, and vistas, and […] it has been shown that the proposed development is in accordance with the relevant national and local development plan policies.

“As part of this development, the headland has been structured to maximise environmental benefits including any landscape and visual impact benefits. It will also provide biodiversity enhancements, by providing a new area of open space, and providing a feature and landscape buffer to accord with the strategy of the Island Plan.

“The landscaped Eastern Headland would create a distinct headland profile; although it will be seen below the distant horizon seen across various places in Jersey including St Clement’s Bay, the panoramic view would result in a beneficial view by softening and screening the abrupt impact of the built form of the operational waste site and the La Collette industrial buildings from the East. 

“With suitable planting in place, the elevation of the green face will provide some screening and a landscape in line with the surrounding character of the area.

“It is therefore considered that the proposed development represents an appropriate form of development at this location and is acceptable in planning terms.”

In parallel to this application, Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet is asking the States Assembly to back a longer term plan for the waste management site, which includes growing the headlands to a maximum height of 21.5m above the top of the rocky perimeter.

To the west, the Minister also hopes to build a new mound of inert, non-hazardous waste 21.5m above the wall.

This week, Deputy Alex Curtis, who is a member of the Planning Committee, has lodged an amendment to the plan which seeks to, among other things, ensure that some of the mounds are temporary.


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