Environment Agency Refuse Waste Dumping Licence. Judicial Review Appeal heard; decision awaited.



The Road to No-Where?

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY REFUSE APPLICATION FOR WASTE DUMPING LICENCE

Earlier this month we were delighted to announce the Environment Agency has turned down the application for a licence to dump landfill on Basildon Golf Course.

The proposal to desecrate Basildon’s wildlife rich golf course with almost half a million tonnes of landfill was dependent upon two things, a loophole in the Waste Management Laws which allowed developers to avoid landfill tax by dumping huge volumes of waste on sporting facilities, and the support of complicit Basildon Councillors.

Shortly after the formation of Friends of Basildon Golf course we raised our concerns with those Basildon Councillors but they refused to be swayed by reasoned arguments, the embarrassment of the facts being made public, or the ensuing public protest.

Having had no success with the councillors we instigated a High Court Judicial Review, and then turned our immediate attention to the Waste Management Laws. Through our then MP Angela Smith we made representations to Government, and Angela later raised the profile higher still in an Adjournment Debate in Parliament. The planned Basildon Golf Course atrocity became a catalyst for a review of the Waste Management Laws which the Friends of Basildon Golf Course took a full and active part in.

The result of the review was a change in the legislation, which came into effect in April this year. Amongst other restrictions the new legislation severely limited the amount of waste that can be utilised with an Exemption Permit. However an application for the Basildon Golf Course Waste Exemption was lodged before April and therefore had to be considered under the old system.

When considering Waste Exemption applications the Environment Agency, as an independent body, has to take all of the issues into account. On this occasion the issues included submissions from the Friends of Basildon Golf Course made to Government Ministers and senior Environment Agency personnel.

In addition to considering all of the issues and submissions Environment Agency personnel made a number of visits to Basildon Golf Course and liaised with staff from Natural England who also visited the site. Having examined all of the evidence, EA staff rejected the application for an Exemption Permit to import landfill onto Basildon Golf Course.

Amongst other matters the Environment Agency concluded that a full assessment of, and proposals for the mitigation of, the likely impacts of the proposal on the conservation features at the golf course had not been adequately undertaken. They also concluded that the scale of works proposed were not in keeping with the requirements of the exemption criteria, and that the source of material to be used in the development had not adequately been identified or described.

It should be noted that this application has been refused under the old rules. Due to the huge volume of landfill involved any further waste application will have to be made as an application for a Full Waste Permit under the revised and more stringent legislation, with the landfill almost certain to be subject to landfill tax. Such an application would almost certainly be subject to public consultation.

The Friends of Basildon Golf Course will strenuously oppose any future application. The facts of the case, together with the continued support of residents should give us every chance of successfully defending our Golf Course if an application is made.

THE ROAD TO NOWHERE?

The photograph at the top of the page shows the access road that was built by contractors working for Basildon Golf Centre Limited to take lorries carrying waste from the busy main road between Basildon Hospital and the Five Bells Roundabout (Nethermayne) onto the golf course.

The road was constructed while the contractor's application for a waste licence was being considered by the Environment Agency. As reported above, that application has been refused.

Readers may be interested to know that Basildon District Council have agreed to lend Basildon Golf Centre Limited £60,000, the estimated cost of the road.

JUDICIAL REVIEW APPEAL

Thanks to the generosity of some key supporters, Friends of Basildon Golf Course will be represented at the Appeal by Charles George QC in addition to barrister Jeremy Pike.

The hearing was to be held at the High Court in The Strand, London, on 27th and 28th July, but was postponed because of a shortage of court time.
The hearing eventually took place on October 13th and 14th before Lord Justices Pill, Carnwath and Rimer.

We await their decision.

RESIGNATION OF JOHN DRAKE

Prior to 30 June 2010, most Jack Barker Golf companies had two directors, Ronald Patrick Maydon and John Christopher Drake.

Records at Companies House show that Mr Drake resigned as a Director of these companies on 30th June 2010.