WMT1 Environmental Impact of a Waste Management Facility

Dúntadate_range16 D.F., 2019, 9:30am - 11 Nol, 2019, 5:00pm

Policy WMT1 Environmental Impact of a Waste Management Facility

A proposal for a new or expanded waste management facility will be permitted where there is no unacceptable adverse impact on the environment. Where there is adverse impact(s), a proposal can only be approved if it can be demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the Council, that the impact can be effectively mitigated through appropriate measures.

Planning permission will be granted where it can be demonstrated that the proposal meets the General Policy and accords with other provisions of the LDP. In addition, applicants will be required to demonstrate that all of the following criteria relating specifically to waste management development are met:

  1. The visual impact of the proposal, including the final landform of landfilling or land raising operations, is acceptable in the landscape and will not have an unacceptable visual impact on seascape or any area designated for its landscape quality;
  2. Wherever practicable, the waste management facility is located in reasonable proximity to where the waste arises;
  3. Wherever practicable, the use of alternative transport modes for the movement of waste materials, in particular, rail and water, has been considered;
  4. The types of waste to be deposited or treated and the proposed method of disposal or treatment will not pose a serious environmental pollution risk to air, water or soil resources that cannot be prevented or appropriately controlled by mitigating measures;
  5. In the case of waste disposal operations, the proposal includes suitable, detailed and practical restoration and aftercare proposals for the site.

Justification and Amplification

The key aim of the Northern Ireland Waste Management Strategy (WMS) and this policy is to achieve sustainable waste management. Through the strong focus on minimising harmful environmental impacts, this policy will encourage all waste management facilities to be developed to the highest standards and in appropriate locations. The development of modern facilities should secure environmental benefits by allowing for more sustainable waste management practices, having regard to the proximity principle, and enabling a shift towards a circular economy where no waste or pollution is produced, and fewer resources and energy are used (a circular economy keeps waste materials at their highest use and value within the waste hierarchy).

In considering proposals for new, or extensions to existing, waste management facilities the Council will ensure adequate protection and conservation of the environment, whilst providing for the waste needs of the Borough.

Environmental information

Sufficient information should be submitted with planning applications for a waste management facility to enable the Council and relevant expert consultees to make an informed assessment of the potential environmental impact, taking account of the nature, scale and location of the proposal. Where appropriate the Council will use its powers contained in the Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 2015 to request applicants to supply such additional information as is considered necessary to allow proper determination of planning applications.

In assessing the potential impact of proposals for new, or extensions to existing, waste management facilities the following must be considered:

  • Health considerations
  • Compatibility with adjacent development
  • Visual intrusion and impact on the landscape or seascape
  • Transport, traffic and access
  • Nature conservation and Historic Environment
  • Environmental pollution (includes noise; dust and airborne pollution; litter; vermin and birds; land instability; hours of operation; and duration of operations)
  • Protection of surface and groundwater, and any environmental pollution risk to water
  • Land Contamination
  • Flooding from rivers
  • Reinstatement of the site

Applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have taken account of the above issues and bring forward proposals to mitigate potential adverse effects conceivably through the use of Section 76 agreements.

Environmental impact assessment

Certain waste management projects fall within the scope of the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015. Under the regulations planning permission cannot be granted for EIA development unless environmental information, adequate for the particular scheme, has been provided and considered. In such cases a formal environmental statement will be required. EIA is a method of ensuring that the likely effects of new development on the environment are taken into account as part of the consideration of planning applications. Waste disposal installations for the incineration, chemical treatment, or landfill of hazardous waste require an EIA in every case. Certain other waste management projects, which fall within the scope of the EIA regulations, may require an assessment where the Council considers that the development will have a significant environmental effect (see DCAN 10 (Revised) Environmental Impact Assessment49).

Precautionary principle

The development of waste management facilities, particularly waste disposal at the lowest level of the waste hierarchy, carries with it the potential for significant risk of harm to the environment. This may also extend in some instances to potentially serious impacts on the health and wellbeing of people. Because of these risks and the uncertainty that may arise in regard to such impacts, the Council will be guided by the precautionary principle that, where there are significant risks of damage to the environment, its protection will generally be paramount, unless there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest.

  • 49 -Department for the Environment Planning Policy Division, September 2012

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