Farmer fails in bid to challenge waste burn

Farmer fails in bid to challenge waste burn
Published: 22 July 2005

A UK farm-owner failed in a High Court challenge to plans to burn animal waste at a cement works.  She claims that if the scheme goes ahead it will blight her home and contaminate her farmland.  Mrs Mary Horner had asked Mr Justice Ouseley to quash Lancashire County Council’s grant of planning permission to Castle Cement Ltd to build machinery to burn "animal waste derived fuel" (AWDF) at its Ribblesdale Cement Works in Clitheroe.  However, in a lengthy and complex judgment, the judge this week dismissed her challenge, instead backing the council’s stance. 
 
Mrs Horner’s challenge centred on the council’s decision to approve the development needed to make it possible.  The council granted permission in January for the development of facilities to handle AWDF, comprising a tanker off-loading area, a storage silo, and an extraction system to feed the fuel into "kiln 7."
 
Challenging that decision, Mrs Horner claimed that emissions would contaminate her neighbouring 140-acre Lane Side Farm, separated from the works only by a river, and would also reach her home at Higher Heights Farm, on a ridge of hills to the north. 
 
She claimed that her family’s home is already affected by airborne emissions from the works, giving rise to adverse health effects and serious concern, and argued that this will only be made worse by the burning of AWDF at the works.  However, the judge backed arguments advanced on behalf of the council and Castle Cement. 
 
Lawyers for Castle Cement had argued that the EA had granted it a permit to burn AWDF, and that it would be inconceivable for the council to reach a different decision on the environmental impact of the plans from the Government body set up to monitor such things.