Public Inquiry for Bletchley Landfill
This page contains information about a public inquiry into the council’s decision to refuse two planning applications by FCC Ltd, the operators of the Bletchley Landfill Site at Guernsey Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK3 5FP. This started on 6 July 2021 and officially closed on 11 November 2021.
The first of these applications is to vary three of the conditions associated with the existing landfill operations approved by reason of planning application MK/806/95. These relate to the end date of the landfill (condition 2), the restoration plan (condition 3), and the timescale for the final restoration plan after landfill operations cease (condition 5), also referred to as the “conditions proposal”.
Milton Keynes Council application reference: 20/00678/FULMMA
Planning Inspectorate Reference APP/Y0435/W/21/3271410
The second application is for the construction of a new lagoon at the northern edge of the landfill site, also referred to as the “lagoon proposal”. The inspector has already heard evidence on this second application.
Milton Keynes Council application reference: 20/00849/FUL
Planning Inspectorate Reference APP/Y0435/W/21/3273179
What is the position of the council on the application?
The council has refused both applications.
You can see a copy of the planning report into the conditions proposal by clicking on the attached link ‘DCC report’. (PDF, 2.4MB)
You can also see a copy of the planning report into the lagoon proposal by clicking on the attached link ‘Delegated report’. (PDF, 189KB)
The council and the appellant have prepared two Statements of Common Ground for both proposals identifying relevant areas of agreement and areas where there is no consensus, i.e. where there is uncommon ground. These help narrow the issues at the Inquiry and, will inform the evidence of the parties, allowing for concentration on the remaining areas of dispute.
Why has an appeal been made?
FCC appealed both decisions. It submitted an appeal against the council’s decision on the conditions proposal on 19 March 2021 and an appeal against the council’s decision on the lagoon proposal on 15 April 2021.
The Planning Inspectorate confirmed that valid appeals had been received and that they would be handled by public inquiry. It appointed an Inspector, Nick Palmer BA (Hons) BPl MRTPI, a chartered town planner to determine this. The public inquiry opened on 6 July 2021 and reconvened on 19 October 2021 after the appellant submitted an Environmental Statement (ES).
What is the role of the Planning Inspectorate?
Planning appeals are managed and determined by the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The Planning Inspectorate deals with planning appeals, national infrastructure planning applications, examinations of local plans and other planning-related and specialist casework in England and Wales.
The Planning Inspectorate's job is to make decisions and provide recommendations and advice on a range of land use planning-related issues across England and Wales.
What is the appeal process?
The appeal process lets the Planning Inspectorate consider all the material planning considerations that are relevant to the case, and from all parties, including from the local planning authority, the applicant and from those who might have made representations on the application.
There is a strict process and timeframe for the submission and processing of appeals.
What is an Environmental Statement (ES) and who has been consulted on it?
The Planning Inspectorate asked the appellant, FCC, to prepare an Environmental Statement (ES). The Environmental Statement must identify, describe and assess the direct and indirect significant effects of the proposed development on the following factors:
(a) population and human health;
(b) biodiversity, with particular attention to species and protected habitats;
(c) land, soil, water, air and climate;
(d) material assets, cultural heritage and the landscape and
(e) the interaction between factors (a) through (d).
The Environmental Statement must include the operational effects of the proposed development, where the proposed development will have operational effects.
You can see a copy of the Environmental Statement in Section CD14 of our core documents library. The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 are available on the Government's legislation.gov.uk website.
The council and others who had an interest in the ES sent their comments on it to the Planning Inspectorate. The deadline for comments has now closed. The Planning Inspectorate concluded that there was sufficient information following the submission of the ES to proceed with the public inquiry.
Who are the main parties?
The main parties in this inquiry are the appellant (formerly the applicant) and the council (the local planning authority).
Newton Longville Parish Council has been granted Rule 6(6) status under The Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000. The parish will therefore have an active part in the inquiry as one of the main parties alongside the council and the appellant.
The public inquiry
The Planning Inspectorate held a public inquiry in part online via Microsoft Teams and in part at the Coroner's Court in Central Milton Keynes. The final day of the public inquiry was 29 October 2021.
The Inspector gave the appellant, the Council and Newton Longville Parish Council additional time to make final submissions and other documents as well as a planning legal agreement in the event that he allowed either or both of the appeals.
No new evidence can be submitted.
Where can I view the appeal documents?
Will the Inspector visit the site?
The Inspector has already carried out an unaccompanied site visit of the area and has also visited the Bletchley landfill site in July 2021 accompanied by representatives from FCC, the council and Newton Longville Parish Council.
When and where will the decision be published?
The decision has been issued for this appeal and published on the GOV.UK website. A copy is also kept on the local planning authority's statutory register.
Last Updated: 17 December 2021