Appeal Court defeat for noise protest pair
10:48 17 July 2014
A Great Dunmow couple who say traffic noise is already so unbearable at their home that they cannot leave the windows open, have failed in a renewed legal fight to block plans for a waste transfer station next to their property.
One of the country’s leading judges at London’s Court of Appeal effectively ruled yesterday (Wednesday) that, if it is that bad already, the new waste facility will not make it any worse.
Lord Justice Lewison refused John and Sandra Hockley permission to appeal a High Court ruling rejecting their challenge to Essex County Council’s decision in June 2012 to grant itself planning consent for the facility to the rear of the Ambulance Station, off Chelmsford Road.
He found that the authority was entitled to take the stance that the waste station would only make a “marginal” difference to traffic, noise and fumes in the area, and that marginal meant “something too insignificant to make a practical difference”.
He said: “If the appellants say it is impossible to live with open doors and windows, it is hard to see how the development could in practice make things worse.”
He added that the county council’s decision that no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was necessary for this development was consistent with Government guidance that EIA is unlikely to be required if the throughput of a waste station is less than 50,000 tonnes per year. In this case, he said, the throughput will be less than 30,000.
As a result, he said that the council’s decision was “unsurprising”.
The Hockleys, who live at nearby Brook Cottage, Chelmsford Road, on the outskirts of the town, fear that lorries carrying tonnes of waste to and from the site will add to the traffic noise and fumes in the area.
They claimed the effects of the scheme had not been given full consideration.
However, dismissing their challenge at the High Court last December, Mr Justice Lindblom had ruled that the council had properly considered the possible environmental effects of the proposal.
He said that it was clear from the decision that no significant effects were likely to arise in terms of odour or discharges from the facility, while impacts on air quality and noise from additional traffic were also considered and judged not likely to be significant.