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JUDGEMENT RESERVED IN 'DIRTY FUEL' CASE

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Campaigners battling to stop an allegedly 'dirty' fuel being burned at ...
Campaigners battling to stop an allegedly 'dirty' fuel being burned at

industrial sites in Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and County Durham are awaiting the outcome of their High Court case.

During a week-long hearing, the Environment Agency has come under attack for using its 'seemingly all-embracing powers' to sanction

the use of controversial 'substitute liquid fuel' without first ordering a full environmental assessment of its impact on the atmosphere.

The fuel is based on recycled solvents and campaigners say it poses a major threat to the environment although so cost-effective it has the potential to cut industrial fuel bills by millions.

The case has been brought to court by residents from Clitheroe, Lancs,

Ferryhill, County Durham, and Whitwell, Nottinghamshire, who live nearby plants which have been granted permission to burn the fuel.

Counsel for the residents, Mr Charles George QC, said they were deeply concerned about the impact on their health of emissions from the plants and were all 'detrimentally affected' by the Environment Agency's decisions.

The burning of SLF had been 'highly contentious recently' and had already been the subject of a report by the House of Commons Environment Select Committee, he told the court.

In his closing speech, Mr George said the Environment Agency had failed to properly consider whether the burning of SLF was 'the best practicable environmental option' as it was obliged to do under both European and domestic law.

He said earlier that Redland Aggregates had installed a state-of-the-art 'bed re-heater' in a lime kiln at the Thrislington plant, the first of its kind in Europe, which had been very successful in reducing sulphur dioxide emissions.

But he added: 'One is left wondering why on earth there isn't a similar one at the Whitwell plant.'

Mr George told Mr Justice Harrison the Environment Agency had employed

'diversionary tactics' in a bid to persuade him not to intervene.

'One of my arguments has been characterised as bizarre, another as barmy, but I can live with that,' he added.

At the end of argument, Mr Justice Harrison reserved his decision in the case,saying he was unlikely to give his ruling before Easter.

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