Public Inquiry for Bletchley Landfill

Find information about the public inquiry into the planning application at the Bletchley Landfill site.
1 November 2021 update: The inquiry has now adjourned. The Inspector is waiting for final submissions before he closes the inquiry. No further evidence can be submitted.

This page contains information about an upcoming 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 Tuesday 6 July 2021 but has been adjourned until 0930 hours on Tuesday 19 October as the Planning Inspectorate has asked FCC Ltd to prepare an Environmental Statement in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.

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 is appealing 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 has confirmed that valid appeals have been received and that they will be handled by public inquiry.  It has 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). 

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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 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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 has 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 has given 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 allows either or both of the appeals.

No new evidence can be submitted.

Where can I view the appeal documents?

The appeal documents are available for inspection on our core documents Google drive.

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 Inspector has estimated that he aims to issue his decision in mid-December 2021. The decision on the appeal will be published on GOV.UK and a copy will be kept on the local planning authority's statutory register.

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Last Updated: 1 November 2021