PROTESTORS fighting plans for a controversial incinerator are celebrating after proposals for a 190ft chimney were turned down.

Essex County Council rejected an application to increase the height of the proposed chimney from 35 to 58 metres at a meeting today.

After a 90-minute discussion, which saw Gent Fairhead and Indaver - the groups behind the incinerator plans – argue that a decision should be defered until after the local elections, the proposals were rejected on three grounds by all but one of the committee.

Ruling against the taller stack, which if approved would have towered 20ft higher than London’s Nelson’s Column, councillors cited the impact it would have on both listed buildings and the countryside.

They also said the suggested size of the huge plant was unnecessary and would subsequently result in a greater volume of waste needing to be transported into the county from outside Essex.

Speaking after the ruling, Silver End and Cressing Green Party councillor and Rivenhall Parish Council chairman James Abbott hailed the "significant" victory, but acknowledged the fight to block the planned incinerator was not over.

He said: ‘‘This has been going on for 26 years and so we fully anticipate that this isn’t the end of the story, but it’s a huge step in the right direction and it’s a significant day.

‘‘This is the first time really that Essex County Council have come out and said they’re not happy with it and even ruled that the plant itself is too big for local need.’

‘‘It was also great to see local people in attendance to see the decision be made as so many local people and the parish councils have done so much work to help this decision be made.’’

Witham MP Priti Patel, who has been campaigning against the incinerator with local residents, welcomed the decision.

She said: “The decision to refuse the latest planning applications is very welcome and marks a turning point in our campaign to get the Rivenhall Incinerator stopped.

"Since they were first granted planning permission by the then Labour Government in 2010, the applicants have been attempting to bulldoze though new changes to their plans. However, today we saw local residents being listened to on the basis of strong evidence demonstrating that the Rivenhall Incinerator is not needed and not welcome.

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“I am delighted by this decision and I would pay tribute to the local residents and campaigners who have worked hard for this outcome."

She added: "Despite the good news today, the fight is still not over. Another licensing application is being considered for a version of the development that has planning consent and the possibility remains of further efforts to secure planning permission. I will continue to work with local residents and campaigners to oppose the Rivenhall Incinerator and take whatever action I can to get it stopped.”

  • James Abbott is standing for the Green Party in the May 2 Silver End and Cressing​ district council election. The other candidates are Ann Griffin (Lab), Becky Karaman-Naci (Con), Sean Perkins (UKIP ), Richard Tuff (Lab) and Bob Wright (Green)