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Goverment Calls in planning application

for proposed extention at Seghill landfill site. Leading recycling and waste management company SITA UK today reiterated its disappointment that its proposals for an extension at its Seghill landfill site in Northumberland have been blocked.

Following an announcement today (20 September) that the Government Office for the North East has 'called-in' the planning application, the company stated that although disappointed with the situation so far, it is confident that its proposals will be vindicated at a local public inquiry in front of a government planning inspector.

This call-in is the latest move an unusual set of circumstances surrounding the passage of the application so far which has seen the plans getting a seal of approval from Northumberland County Council on 29 July and the thumbs down from North Tyneside Council on 14 August.

The two local authorities have been involved in this application because the landfill operations are within the county of Northumberland, whilst much of the screening and landscaping, together with the planned new access road, are in the borough of North Tyneside.

The planning application seeks to enlarge the geographical area used for landfilling activity and also extend the life of site operations by 15 years.

John Grainger, SITA UK's General Manager for the North East said: “We were naturally disappointed that one of the participating authorities did not support our plans and are equally disappointed that this matter will now go to a public inquiry.

“However, we are confident that the Secretary of State will acknowledge the strategic importance of our case and the robustness of this particular planning application.

“The fact is that some waste which can't be recycled still needs to be landfilled and the region needs to plan and make available sites in appropriate locations.

“Waste production in the north-east continues to increase and the region needs well run, quality sites like Seghill Landfill to ensure that waste is managed safely and effectively.

“This company has made it clear that refusal of this application will have significant implications, not only for its own operations, but also for the region's local authorities who have a statutory responsibility to ensure there are outlets for the waste they collect from households, and for local businesses which need to dispose of their waste in easily accessible, central sites.

“This is not a matter of a company wanting to expand for commercial reasons: its about the regional waste strategy and the need for ongoing landfill capacity in this region.”

SITA UK initially submitted its application in 2005. The site has been used for landfill since the 1960s. The 50-hectare site is currently operating to a planning permission that was granted in 1989, at which time tipping operations were anticipated to continue until 2014.

The planned extension would cover 19 hectares of agricultural land to the east of the existing site. To shield the site from the surrounding area, the company has proposed a 49 hectare landscaping buffer zone, which would surround and screen the proposed extension. SITA UK has also proposed a new access road, built to link the site direct to the B1322, which would dramatically reduce the amount of site-related traffic through the village of Seghill.

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