Arun gives resounding thumbs down to revised Ford incinerator plans

Arun District Council has made it clear that an ‘energy from waste’ incinerator planned for Ford would not be welcome.

West Sussex County Council has the final say on whether or not to approve the plans for an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) and a Waste Sorting and Transfer Facility (WSTF) on the site of the current, much smaller, waste transfer station.

But members of Arun’s planning committee agreed unanimously to raise a string of objections.

During a meeting on Wednesday (May 26), the committee also agreed that, if the county council did eventually approve the application, a request would be sent to the Secretary of State asking for that decision to be called in.

The plans, from Grundon Waste Management and Viridor, replaced a previous application, which was withdrawn in March, and a number of changes were made.

They included having two 85m chimney stacks rather than one and reducing the height of the boiler hall from 51.2m to 38.5m.

‘Wholly unacceptable’, ‘gigantic’ and ‘prominent and intrusive’ were among the descriptions thrown around during the meeting.

The impact on roads, the environment and the landscape were also high on the list of concerns, as well as the consequences for the 1,500 homes which have been planned for the area.

Chairman Terry Chapman (Con, East Preston) said: “If you go up to Perry Hill at the back of Arundel and look down towards the coast, you can see the present plant on the old Ford Aerodrome site quite clearly.

“If you then visualise two 85m high stacks and a monolithic building, it will totally destroy any view of one of the last open gaps along the coast.”

Hugh Coster (Ind, Aldwick East) laughed at the idea that a 2.4m-5m high acoustic fence – designed to reduce noise levels from the site – would make ‘the slightest bit of difference’ given the proposed size of the development.

The committee was of one mind on the application and agreed with principal planning officer Raymond Cole that the council would file an objection.

Mr Cole laid out a list of reasons, including:

Whether a facility of this size was even needed, especially as planning permission has already been given for an incinerator in Horsham;

The ‘significant adverse visual impact’ a building of this scale and height would have on the landscape;

Concerns about traffic, noise and smell; and

The fact the plans did not comply with the Waste Local Plan and Arun Local Plan policies.