Asbestos, contaminated soil and other hazardous waste will continue to be dumped at La Collette after a decision to finally refuse planning permission was deferred by six months.
Parts of the construction industry risked grinding to a halt because the Waste Management Site is already exceeding existing permissions with regards to hazardous waste.
The Government had gone to the Planning Committee last month, not only seeking retrospective permission for mounds of waste it had already created over the past 20 years, but also consent to create new piles of waste - and to increase the height of existing ones.
However, the committee refused to approve it – arguing that the group of politicians did not have enough information, the mounds had too much impact on the skyline, and there needed to be a proper Government plan on how waste should be managed in the long-term.
Its refusal, though, was not immediate – when the committee goes against the recommendation of the Planning Department, which they did in this case, the matter returns at its next monthly meeting for ratification.
In delaying this formal step by six months, the committee has given the Government important breathing space.
And even though Infrastructure still does not have planning permission, and it will continue to exceed existing consents, the absence of a formal planning rejection allows it to carry on accepting and dumping toxic waste, it argues.
In parallel to the planning process, Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet employed another tactic to keep the Waste Management Site open – seeking permission from the States Assembly to give his department consent to expand the giant piles of waste.
Pictured: Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet: "We will continue our work to prepare short- to medium-term proposals and then a long-term solution that looks much further into the future.”
In response to the Planning Committee’s decision on Thursday to delay its decision, Deputy Binet said: “This is a very welcome decision. All parties have recognised that this is a legacy issue of major strategic importance to the whole community.
“It is vital that we find an appropriate solution for the disposal of Jersey’s waste, which is a complex and environmentally sensitive problem.
“This planning application was originally submitted some time ago in 2016 and we need to update it to take account of the changing circumstances and expectations.
“We will continue our work to prepare short- to medium-term proposals and then a long-term solution that looks much further into the future.”
Deputy Binet said that there was a “strong possibility” that he would now withdraw his proposition and return to the Assembly with an updated version.
He added that it was likely the department would now split its planning application into two – a retrospective one seeking to endorse the 30m mound that exists south of the incinerator, and a separate one to increase the height of that mound by another 11 metres, and create new mounds, including a southern headland of hazardous waste and a western headland of non-hazardous inert waste.
Over the last ten years, approximately 250,000 tonnes of hazardous waste have been disposed of at La Collette.
Ash and residues from the Energy-from-Waste plant are exported to the UK; however, other material, including asbestos, contaminated soil, and material from clinical and animal carcass incineration, is buried in lined pits at La Collette which is then covered in soil.
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