A council investigation has been launched after “an administrative error” in the application for a new incinerator for Carlisle.
The incinerator was initially approved by Cumbria County Council in October 2016, with developers Fortum submitting an amendment to change to a more traditional moving grate incinerator, rather than the newer, cleaner and more efficient plant originally promised, in 2018.
Carlisle campaign group (CRAIN) has launched a fundraising appeal to show that the planning permission granted by Cumbria County Council for the construction of the Energy from Waste Incinerator at Kingmoor Park is no longer legally valid.
CRAIN has been challenging and scrutinising the process throughout and say that, in approving the amendment to the application, the deadline for the start of development should not have been extended.
They say they have received legal advice that the planning applications have now expired.
“Cumbria County Council has identified an error in relation to the planning process,” said a spokesman for the council.
“The error that occurred on the application was an administrative error. The law clearly states that administrative acts are valid unless and until quashed by a court. However, the time for any such challenge to be brought has now passed.
“Therefore, whilst the council accepts that an error was made when granting the permission, the extension to the commencement date for the development stands.
“An independent review has been commissioned by the council to investigate how this came about and to learn from it.”
David Mudge, a spokesman for CRAIN, has outlined the concerns of the group.
“We need wider community help to stop this once and for all.”
“We need to raise £3,600 so we can engage legal help. Cumbria County Council knows there are errors
and it should correct them.
“Why should Carlisle have an incinerator that residents don’t want and that city councillors have voted unanimously to oppose when the County Council admit they made errors in their handling of the planning application and when Fortum is no longer planning to use the “more efficient” and “less polluting”
technology that they originally promised? The plans to build this incinerator should be abandoned.”
He added: “You can donate to the appeal at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/crain or email us at [email protected] for more information.
“Any money raised that is not needed for the fight against the incinerator will go to the wider national campaign, UKWIN, who have given Carlisle residents much help and support.”
Dr Helen Davison, City Councillor for Belah and Kingmoor ward and the only Green on the authority, said: “Residents once again find themselves in the position of needing to raise funds to fight the incinerator.
“It is time that the County Council did the right thing and rectified their errors but they have shown no sign of doing so leaving residents with no other choice.”
“I am saddened that a legal challenge may be the only way for our community to secure a just outcome. I fully back residents in their campaign and applaud them for their dedication. I would urge people to support them in their fundraising appeal.”
A spokesman for Fortum refused to comment.