Waste Incineration: Regulation

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of John Grogan John Grogan Labour, Keighley 11:00 am, 9th April 2019

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. There are precedents that can be looked at, such as the landfill tax. However, I hope that the Government—any Government—will rapidly bring the matter to a conclusion, to give certainty. Instead of just flirting with the idea of taxation it is now time to act on it.

If the House will indulge me, in my remaining couple of minutes I need to refer to the outstanding application in the Keighley area. I commend the work of Aire Valley Against Incineration, which has campaigned hard on the issue. There is planning permission. It is quite unusual to apply for planning permission and not to apply at the same stage for an environmental permit. I do not know whether the Minister would have a comment to make on that. The application for an environmental permit bears little resemblance to the original planning application. Fifty per cent. more waste is envisaged. There is planning permission for 100,000 tonnes, and an extra 48,000 tonnes is now being added. The layout of the buildings and chimney stack has changed. The nature of the waste that might be burned has changed. The planning committee was told that only residual waste in the form of refuse-derived fuel would be included. Now the Environment Agency is being told that the facility will accept residual, commercial and industrial waste of a similar nature to unsorted municipal solid waste.

There is therefore great concern in the community. We hope that the Environment Agency will do a rigorous job. There is even more concern because of the nature of the company involved—Endless Energy, which is not even a member of the trade association. It is based in the Isle of Man. It has two directors who have been named by the Environment Agency. One of them, Rajinder Singh Chatha, was the controlling force behind Oddbins, which has recently gone into administration. A tax tribunal recently found that he was

“intentionally misleading about some of the explicit lies that the tribunal has found were told to HMRC”.

It decided that he was not a fit and proper person to be allowed to sell or distribute duty suspended alcohol. He is not a fit and proper person to sell alcohol! Despite the pleadings of my hon. Friend Mr Sheerman that this industry should be given a fair chance, these people are cowboys. Until recently cowboys were running Keighley Cougars, our proud rugby league team, but they have now gone. I will be writing to the chair of the Environment Agency to ask how it can possibly trust a man who the tax authorities say cannot be trusted.