Waste disposal and planning law

Part I of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 introduced a system for the licensing of waste disposal operations which overlapped with but did not replace existing planning controls. The full text of the recent High Court judgment in Berridge Incinerators v Nottinghamshire County Council (ENDS Report 147, pp 7-8) clearly demonstrates the problems that can arise from the dual nature of the current arrangements, and for the first time provides some judicial guidance on the correct approach of waste disposal authorities faced with a site licence application for an operation that does not require planning permission.

For many years the plaintiffs had carried on disposal operations involving the incineration of wastes. Following the introduction of the 1974 Act, the firm applied for a site licence, but its application was refused on the grounds that the operations first required planning permission. Section 5(2) of the Act expressly interlocks the site licensing and planning controls by providing that "a disposal licence shall not be issued for the use of l

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