Plans for a £120 million rubbish incinerator in Staffordshire are being sent back to council planners over legal fears.
The incinerator earmarked for Four Ashes Industrial Estate, near Cannock, will go back before Staffordshire County Council’s planning committee after it emerged that a “paperwork hitch” could leave it open to a legal challenge.
The council has admitted “technical details” were not included in the original planning application and the plan now needs to be reconsidered by the new planning committee so the error can be corrected. But the project, approved back in November, is still expected to go ahead as planned.
The council’s project director Ian Benson said: “The planning application will be returning to the planning committee in the autumn due to a paperwork hitch. The planning committee approved the scheme at Four Ashes last November.
“The committee will revisit the paperwork to ensure technical details are included in the published decision. These were not included in the original decision and did not comply with recent judgements which meant the plan could have been vulnerable to a legal challenge.”
It is believed the error was unearthed after a member of the public complained to the council about the way the decision to build the incinerator was written.
The Four Ashes Incinerator will handle an expected 300,000 tonnes of waste a year from Staffordshire and neighbouring authorities and is aimed at reducing the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
It is also predicted to generate enough power for over 25,000 homes and deliver surplus hot water to local industrial and commercial users. But Friends of the Earth campaigners say the county could struggle to fulfill 30-year obligations as recycling will limit the amount of waste going to the burner.