to delay closure of existing Seghill landfill site until June 2012. Leading recycling and waste management company SITA UK has lodged a planning application with Northumberland County Council to delay the end date for landfilling within the existing site boundaries of the Seghill landfill site.
Approval of the application would mean that waste would continue to be accepted at the site until 30 June 2012, and that agreed restoration work would need to be completed by 31 October 2013.
This application has no impact on the separate planning application for the proposed physical extension of the site, which has been 'called-in' by government.
The 50-hectare site has been used for landfill since the 1960s. It is currently
operating to a planning permission that was granted in 1989, at which time tipping
operations were anticipated to continue until 2014. This end date was changed to 31 December 2009 five years ago based on the level of waste inputs and predictions made at that time.
Over the past three years, whilst awaiting a planning decision on the extension to Seghill landfill site, SITA UK has minimised the inputs to the Seghill site by diversion to their other disposal sites further afield. This decision has now been referred to the Secretary of State.
The delayed end date would allow the company to continue filling the site at the current input rate, which would mean there would be no increase in traffic through local villages. If the company has to complete its tipping operations by the end of 2009, it will need to intensify operations and divert waste from other sites to Seghill so that the agreed land restoration programme can be put in place.
Annemarie Wilshaw, SITA UK's Planning Manager explains. “The current planning permission for the existing site runs out at the end of 2009. We are applying for this to be changed so that it lasts until 30 June 2012. The reason we need this extra time is to provide continuity of waste disposal services in south east Northumberland whilst a planning decision is awaited on the long term future of the landfill site.”
She added: “What we need to remember is that even after recycling and treatment, some waste will always need to be sent to landfill, and local authorities and regions like the North East need to have landfill capacity.
SITA UK has also confirmed that it intends to appeal against the decision by North Tyneside Council's planning committee to reject its planning application to extend the Seghill landfill site.
The company has held discussions with civil servants at the Government Office for the North East (GONE), which 'called-in' the decision made by Northumberland County Council to approve the planning application to extend the site boundary.
Both parties, along with North Tyneside and Northumberland County Council, believe that the two parts of the decision-making process should be brought together so the whole proposal is considered as one issue. A public inquiry into this issue is expected to start in 2009.
John Grainger, General Manager for SITA UK in the North East, said: “We are confident that our proposals for this strategically important landfill site will be vindicated and that we will achieve approval. Councillors and officers in Northumberland have already backed the proposal, and planning professionals at North Tyneside also recommended approval.”
He added: “Seghill Landfill is identified in Northumberland County Council's Waste Local Plan as a key strategic landfill site to meet ongoing disposal requirements, and that is why councillors at that authority voted in favour. I was surprised at the rejection of our plans by North Tyneside councillors as the main disposal operations occur across the boundary in Northumberland. The developments in North Tyneside would have been improvements to access, landscaping and local amenities.”