On 19th July the LLRA’s Gary Stimson, Jon Davies and Tony Wass had the opportunity to meet representatives from Veolia in Lincoln. The meeting was to allow the LLRA to put questions to Veolia on their planned appeal on the Long Leys waste transfer station planning application and to explain the LLRA’s position to Veolia.
This meeting was arranged at short notice (with some committee members diverting from work for a lunchtime meeting) so there was insufficient time to ask residents to submit questions. The questions below, labelled FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), were asked on behalf of residents by the LLRA. Answers were summarised by an LLRA note taker rather than verbatim answers being recorded. As a follow up, Veolia were given the opportunity to comment, to ensure that summarised answers fairly reflected their original intent. As a result, some small amendments have been made to the original article which clarified rather than changed answers.
* by an answer indicates it has been amended on 24 July to clarify rather than change answer
Veolia have agreed that residents can put further questions to them, via the LLRA. Please either add your questions in the comments section on this page or email them to LLRA@long-leys.org if you prefer not to have your name published on the website. Responses received from Veolia will be added to this page. Please do read the questions and answers here first though, to check if your question has already been answered.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
What’s new in the Veolia appeal, compared to the original planning application refused on 6 February?
* Veolia’s proposed plans remain the same as those submitted in the original application. Veolia disagree with the original decision and feel the Planning Inspectorate may decide differently on the same facts. As part of the appeal Veolia do need to provide ‘new’ documentation in the appeal submission (not least a Statement of Case).
Veolia have been offered other sites for this activity by Lincoln City Council. Why have you not actively engaged with them?
Veolia have been engaging with the council on alternative sites. However, a big stumbling block to any relocation plan is that Veolia have a lease commitment on the Long Leys site until 2104. The cost to Veolia of keeping the Long Leys site empty whilst paying rent for another 87 years makes moving to any other site commercially unviable. The landowner will not allow Veolia to sell the lease to another company unless the new company had a credit rating similar to Veolia’s. There would be a fear that the new company may default on rental payments. Not many companies want to commit to an 87-year lease with no break clause.
Why don’t you like the Great Northern Terrace site that has been talked about?
Veolia’s 87-year lease is the main problem when considering a move to another site but there is also not sufficient space at Great Northern Terrace for Veolia’s needs; operations would have to be split on opposite sides of the road.
When do you anticipate filing your appeal with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol?
It needs to be filed by Sunday 6th August 2017; it is likely to be submitted during week commencing 31st July 2017.
In your appeal, what form of appeal hearing will you ask for from the Planning Inspectorate (written submission, informal hearing, public inquiry)?
Veolia expect the Planning Inspectorate will choose written submission or informal hearing but they would also be happy with a public inquiry. It will be the Planning Inspectorate’s decision which format is chosen.
(LLRA Note – we understand from county planning officer that he will recommend a public inquiry format at which residents can speak)
How long do you think the appeal will take?
That’s down to the Planning Inspectorate but it could be a couple of months or it could take 6 months depending on the format of the appeal.
Does your appeal address the requirements of the recently introduced 2017 Central Lincolnshire Plan (CLP)?
The CLP is a material aspect that the Planning Inspectorate will consider.
When will Veolia start work on construction on the site if they win the appeal?
If Veolia win the appeal then they will produce a timetable for construction; they will need final internal approvals for the investment and start after that depending on workloads.
What will Veolia do if they lose the appeal?
Not sure. Veolia will cross that bridge when they come to it.
We understand that you are seeking support from the landowners on restricting operating hours on your site. Is that the case?
No. Veolia are not looking for anything from the landowner. The operating hours of the existing business will be 24/7 and the new business will operate 7am-6pm Mon-Fri and 7am-5pm Sat. This was stated in planning documents submitted to the original planning decision meeting and will be the same in the appeal.
Have you a written agreement from the landowners to allow a restriction on operating hours on the land?
I understand that the landowners have toured your Kirkby In Ashfield site as an example of the operational standards that Veolia can deliver, Is this an example of Veolia at its best?
* It was selected as it is the most recently constructed facility. The facility in Kirkby takes household waste rather than commercial waste and opened in March 2017. The unit produces RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) from domestic waste which is shredded, baled, wrapped and exported. The facility in Kirkby is experiencing some challenges at the moment which Veolia will resolve.
Why do you need to make Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) out of waste?
There is little option for waste to be sent to landfill now and it will be even harder in the future. Items either need to be recycled or incinerated.
What would be the waste you receive in Lincoln?
It would be pre-segregated materials for recycling (i.e. glass, tins, cardboard/paper, etc.) and ‘residual’ material (i.e. mixed ‘black bag’ type waste) from commercial customers such as retailers, light factory units or schools. The recyclable materials will be transferred to appropriate recycling facilities, whilst the residual material will be shredded into RDF.
Why do you not site your plant next to an incinerator that will burn the RDF such as the one at Teal Park in North Hykeham?
* Teal Park ERF (Energy Recovery Facility) is operated by a private company called FCC who have a contract with the County Council and their incinerator is sized to burn mainly local household waste. They do not have capacity to take much additional tonnage from commercial sources however if they did it, this would be the subject of agreement on commercial terms. By creating an RDF the fuel can potentially be transported to other consented recovery facilities.
Residents are concerned about the way the current site is operated, let alone a new one. How can you re-assure them?
Veolia needs Environmental Permits to operate. If Veolia don’t operate according to the permit then they would face difficulty and the Environment Agency would take enforcement action.
What should residents do if they see activities they are concerned about on your site?
If residents have any concerns about the site they can either contact the site manager or visit the Veolia website to give feedback. Veolia will do their best to address any concerns. Contact information is given on the signage board next to the site.
(LLRA Note: Breaches of Environmental permits should be reported to the Environment Agency).
The LLRA took the opportunity to express the community’s view on the Veolia appeal
- There was universal opposition to Veolia’s original application from the community, local business and elected councillors. Since there is nothing new in Veolia’s planned appeal the LLRA has a mandate to oppose this. The Stop Veolia Action Group (SVAG), not connected to the LLRA, will also oppose Veolia’s appeal.
- The LLRA are looking for support for their position from elected officials at Lincoln City council and the County council as well as from our newly elected MP.
- The LLRA understand from the County planning manager (Neil McBride) that his team will be recommending a public inquiry in the event of an appeal.
- At any public inquiry, the LLRA may, along with SVAG, be applying for rule 6 status. The LLRA understand from SVAG that it is their intention that the community will have professional representation.
- Since there is nothing new in Veolia’s appeal, it is unlikely that Veolia will sway the views of Long Leys residents. However, the LLRA will relay communication of factual information between Veolia and the local community.
Both parties agreed to continue a dialogue as issues arise.
Version 1.3 24 July 2017 (* indicates slightly revised answers to further clarify original summarised answer)
Version 1.2 19 July 2017 Jon Davies LLRA Secretary