Judge gives go ahead for tyre burning fight

Judge gives go ahead for tyre burning fight
Published: 09 April 2004

Campaigners have been given the go-ahead to fight the UK Environment Agency’s controversial decision on tyre burning in the High Court.  A judge gave a green light to the case, which will discuss the EA’s decision to allow Rugby Cement to burn tyres at its Lawford Road plant, this week.  He said even though the driving force behind the opposition was a local pressure group with thousands of supporters. Rugby in Plume campaigners are delighted with the news and say it has come at a time of particular importance for groups lobbying the government about their plans for burning alternative fuels.

During a hearing at the end of last month, lawyers for both Rugby Cement and the Environment Agency said Mr. Edwards’ challenge was an ’abuse of process’ because he was being used as a cost shield so Rugby in Plume campaigners were protected from a legal costs bill potentially running into thousands of pounds.  But in a written judgement Mr. Justice Keith said it was difficult to resist that conclusion, but said this shouldn’t stop the case going forward.

Rugby in Plume’s Lilian Pallikaropoulos said the group were delighted at the announcement, which vindicated months of campaigning about the EA’s decision. She added: "This is a very timely decision. The Government is currently revising the hazardous fuels protocol which would allow all kinds of hazardous waste to be burned without any further trials or public consultation, so it is fantastic we have got this on the agenda now. This is becoming an issue of national concern."  The full hearing, which is expected to last three days and involves expert environmental lawyers from Cherie Booth’s Matrix chambers, will be paid for by public funds under the legal aid scheme.