Agenda item

Waste Planning Application accompanied by an Environmental Statement (County Matter)

Report by Head of Planning Services.


To consider and determine the following application:


WSCC/050/19      Installation and Operation of a Soil Heat Treatment Facility.  Brookhurst Wood, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 4QD.



WSCC/050/19      Installation and Operation of a Soil Heat Treatment Facility.  Brookhurst Wood, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 4QD.


14.1   The Committee considered a report by the Head of Planning Services, as amended by the agenda update sheet (copy appended to the signed copy of the minutes).  The report was introduced by Jane Moseley, County Planning Manager, who gave a presentation on the proposals, details of the consultation and key issues in respect of the application.  It was clarified that the table in 9.7 of the committee report is incorrect and should read as follows:

Hazardous Waste Management in West Sussex (tonnes)














14.2   Mr Brian Johnson, representing Langhurstwood Road Residents Group spoke in objection to the application, asking the Committee to note that any relevant comments also apply to application WSCC 051/19.  The number of planning permissions granted over the last 10 years has caused ever increasing numbers of HGVs and other vehicles on Langhurstwood Road, affecting residents.  The bigger picture is never considered.  Reassurances made some years ago about limits on HGV movements by operators at Brookhurst Wood have not been kept because more planning applications have had more vehicle movements allowed.  There is no need for the 19% increase of 75 HGV movements (15 for WSCC/050/19 and 60 for WSCC/051/19).  There is headroom in the 392 movements for the Biffa Mechanical Biological Treatment facility (MBT) on the same site because the tonnage throughput has reduced at the facility by 26% due to the success of recycling, and also because Biffa has published that it expects HGV movements relating to the landfill to reduce.  However, Biffa has refused to compromise on the requested HGV movements for this application and for application WSCC/051/19.


14.3   Mr James Stewart-Irvine, Planning Manager at Biffa spoke in support of the application, asking the Committee to note that any relevant comments also apply to application WSCC 051/19.  The waste management industry has shifted away from landfill to recycling, recovery and reuse.  Applications WSCC/050/19 and WSCC/051/19 will enable a more diverse range of materials to be collected, separated, processed and reused, enabling the movement of waste up the waste hierarchy.  The application site is in the wider Brookhurst Wood waste management complex which is allocated for such use.  There are currently no facilities in West Sussex to manage hazardous soil.  The need for the facility is established.  All technical and environmental aspects have been considered including impacts from wider development in the locality.  The site will operate in accordance with an Environmental Permit to control pollution.  Objections including concerns about traffic are acknowledged and proposed conditions restricting HGV movements have been accepted.


14.4   Mr Peter Catchpole, local member for Holbrook spoke on the application, asking the Committee to note that any relevant comments also apply to application WSCC 051/19.  North Horsham and Langhurstwood Road have suffered ever increasing HGV traffic due to not only Brookhurst Wood but also other industrialisation in the locality.  Planners state that each development adds only a small incremental increase in traffic but the overall impact does not appear to be taken into account.  North Horsham roads are already severely congested.  Waste sourced from out of county will increase traffic pollution.  Carrying hazardous waste is a risk to health and safety.  There is no guarantee of the facility will meet West Sussex needs.  Sustainability is not considered.  Residential amenity along Langhurstwood Road will be impacted because overall there will be 45 HGV movements every hour.  Horsham District Council has queried the lack of mitigation plans regarding additional traffic emissions.  NICE states that pollution should be addressed at the planning stage and developers should show they are looking to protect local people from the effects of air pollution.  It is hoped the mitigation plans can be shared with the Liaison Group.  The application does not meet Policy W10 of the Waste Local Plan (WLP).  Residents are sceptical of the temporary permission and believe it will become permanent.  There is no need to increase HGV movements by 75 per day because Biffa is using only 44% of its capacity allocated to under WSCC/021/15/NH and WSCC/055/09/NH - the Committee is asked to remove the requested HGV movements because of the surplus capacity in the planning permissions already granted to the applicant.  The plans for rerouting of traffic along Langhurstwood Road may take 10-15 years to be implemented.


14.5   Planning Officers provided the following clarification on points raised by speakers:

·      The proposed changes to Condition 3 -Temporary Permission, that would provide an end date of 31 December 2025, aims to align the permission with the timeline for the reassessment of the WLP and the need for landfill.  Also, it would allow reasonable time for the operator to set up the facility and work towards commercial viability.

·      The mentioned 19% increase in HGV movements is applicable to permissions granted to operators on the Brookhurst Wood site.  The 13% increase noted in the report is applicable to all HGV traffic along Langhurstwood Road.  In future the Langhurstwood/A264 junction will close and traffic will be re-routed east along the southern edge of the North-Horsham development.

·      Matters relating to the request for the HGV movements to be considered as part of the 392 HGV movements granted under permissions for the MBT plant are covered in minute 14.6 below.


14.6   During the debate the Committee raised the points below and clarification was provided by the Planning Officers and Legal Officers, where appropriate:


Need for additional HGV movements

Points raised – The Committee noted the matter, raised by Mr Johnson and Mr Catchpole, regarding the spare capacity in the allocation for HGV movements for the MBT facility and also the reduction in HGV movements following the closure of the landfill site.  The future re-routing of Langhurstwood Road as part of the North Horsham development was noted but would be beyond the end date of the temporary permission.  Could the requested additional HGV movements for this application be absorbed within other allocations granted to the applicant and, therefore, could this application be granted without any HGV movements being permitted?

Response -  The eventual closure of the landfill site will not result in a reduction in permitted HGV movements because the landfill and MBT movements are tied through a legal agreement.  The proposed HGV movements are considered reasonable by WSCC Highways; the assessment takes into account known vehicle movements from the following: sites at Brookhurst Wood which have restrictive permissions on HGV movements (some don’t); the proposed Energy from Waste facility on this site; other industry in the locality, and the future North Horsham development.  Each application must be decided on its own merits.  This application site does not lie within the MBT site or the landfill site.  Planning permission applies to the land not the operator, who may change in future.  An adjoining operator may relinquish rights through a S.106 agreement.  Granting permission with limited HGV movements might be considered unreasonable because it would likely impact on the viability of the facility, particularly if passed to another operator.  Langhurstwood Road currently carries 3,500 vehicles per day, based on assessments provided; government guidelines for this road type and design show that it has the capacity to carry 13,000 vehicles per day.



Points raised – Where will the weighbridge for the proposed facility be sited?

Response – HGVs for this facility will use the existing weighbridge for the landfill site which is sited on the access road.


Drainage – prevention of pollution outside the application site

Points raised – It is noted that WSCC Drainage has stated that there is ‘insufficient information’ about drainage.  Due to the fact that the proposed facility will process hazardous waste concerns were raised and reassurances sought about the drainage mitigation including bunding to contain any pollution during a significant rainfall event.  Additionally, reassurances were sought regarding protection from pollution due to run-off from stockpiles, and the maintenance of drainage to prevent silting up.

Response – The WSCC Drainage Officer has subsequently confirmed that they are happy for drainage details to be provided by condition. Continuous monitoring of water quality will take place.  Much of the water used in the facility will be recycled through the process.  Clean and foul water will be separated.  Foul water is discharged to the wastewater treatment works.  The site will be bunded.  A detailed drainage scheme has been sought by condition – Condition 7 – Surface Water Drainage Scheme – which must be approved before commencement of the development.


Air Quality

Point raised – Reassurances were sought regarding mitigation for air pollution, particularly for the residents of Langhurstwood Road and future residents of the North Horsham development.  Concern was raised that there is no baseline provided regarding air quality.

Response – The air quality assessment, including proposed mitigation, is based on the latest legislation and government standards.  It takes into account all upcoming development in the area as a ‘future baseline’.


Condition 3 - Temporary Planning Permission

Point raised – The proposed planning permission is temporary in nature (amended as per the agenda update sheet).  Can it be confirmed that a new planning application would be required for permanent permission?

Response – Yes, for permanent planning permission a new application would need to be submitted and considered.


Cross-boundary movement of waste

Point raised – Can the importation of waste from outside West Sussex be restricted?

Response – The need for the facility is established.  There is a relatively small market for processing hazardous soil and there are only a few facilities of this nature in the UK, the nearest being in Birmingham.  It would be unreasonable to restrict the sources of waste; planning case law has proved this to be unsound where it was attempted with other planning applications. 


14.7  It should also be noted that points, where relevant, made by the Committee and responses provided by the Planning Officers and Legal Officers during debate on application WSCC/051/19, as noted in minute 15.4 below, also apply to this application.


14.8  Mr S Oakley proposed that Condition 7 – Surface Water Drainage Scheme should be amended to add a new bullet point:

·         Bunding shall be provided around the facility to ensure containment of pollution and prevent water run-off.

This was seconded by Mr Patel, and put to the Committee and refused by a majority. 


14.9  The substantive recommendation, as amended by changes to conditions as noted in the agenda update sheet, was proposed by Lt. Cdr. Atkins and seconded by Mr Quinn and was put to the Committee and approved by a majority.


14.10 Resolved – That planning permission be granted subject to amended conditions and informatives, as set out in Appendix 1 of the report and the update sheet, as agreed by the Committee.


Supporting documents: