Consultant’s view was correct

I REPRESENT Warboys Landfill Action Group (WLAG) on the Warboys Landfill Forum, but this letter is written entirely on my own behalf. Leaflets around the village explain the action group s decision to suspend its participation in the forum and the Enviro

I REPRESENT Warboys Landfill Action Group (WLAG) on the Warboys Landfill Forum, but this letter is written entirely on my own behalf.

Leaflets around the village explain the action group's decision to suspend its participation in the forum and the Environment Agency's decision to withdraw the Waste Management Licence modification that would have allowed unlawful tipping.

They will also have noted the commitment in one of the Conservative Party's election leaflets that "Conservative councillors will not allow short cuts in operations or unenforceable regulations to be introduced".

When the Environment Agency produced a modification to the licence, this attracted unfavourable criticism from the majority of the forum members because it was a weakening of the existing control regulations.

The action group employed consultant Alan Watson to advise it on the legal and technical aspects of the proposed modification. He questioned the legality of the whole process, maintaining that under existing law the Woodford Group would have to submit a Pollution Prevention and Control application.

His searching questions of the EA received either evasive replies or direct refusals.

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At the January Warboys Parish Council meeting, I informed the council that, being denied the benefit of Alan Watson's expert advice, I would not be attending the forum meeting on January 15. It was open to the group to provide a substitute but it decided not to. The parish council declared that it would be guided by Alan Watson in matters technical and legal and would not be a party to anything unlawful.

The meeting went ahead and confirmed the intention to issue the licence modification.

However, on January 24, the modification was withdrawn after advice received from the EA's legal advisers.

It has since transpired that the device of modifying the existing licence was introduced as an aid to fast-tracking the deposit of non-hazardous waste. The EA and owners of the site, Woodford, had agreed this before Woodford bought the site.

It is a great pity that more of those round the forum table did not attend the 2005 public inquiry on a regular basis.

Seeing Alan Watson's capabilities might have convinced them of the likely accuracy of his conclusions on the legitimacy of the licence. A more prompt awakening by Conservative councillors might have led to an earlier abandonment of the licence modification and would have saved the action group and the village several thousands of pounds spent to prevent the commission of an unlawful act.

JOHN DENNIS, Warboys

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