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A long-running battle over provision of a public sewer at Bent Hill, Buckingham, has been sent back to be considere...
A long-running battle over provision of a public sewer at Bent Hill, Buckingham, has been sent back to be considered by the Environment Agency for a third time.

Residents of Bent Hill, Buckingham, want to replace their failing septic tanks but the case has bounced back and forth between the courts and the Environment Agency without a conclusive decision resulting.

Anglian Water has twice been told by the Environment Agency it must install a public sewer for the first time in the village rather than use a cheaper solution. Now though the court has allowed an appeal by Anglian against the most recent decision with the result that the Agency will have to have to re-consider the matter yet again.

In October 2000, Anglian was successful in its first High Court challenge to the Environment Agency's order, and, when the Court of Appeal backed that decision in January 2002, the agency was forced to rethink the matter.

However, after conducting further inquiries, the agency again decided that Anglian Water should install the sewer in the village at a projected cost of nearly £90,000, rather than its proposed solution of a private package treatment plant to be installed and maintained by residents at a cost of only £13,000.

Now Mr Justice Owen has backed Anglian Water's second judicial review challenge over the issue, although he expressed his regret that the matter must be reconsidered again.

In the latest ruling, Mr Justice Owen said that the second agency decision must be quashed as it had failed to give Anglian the opportunity to make representations on new letters from two of the residents at the centre of the battle, which set out detailed reasons why they considered a private treatment plant to be impracticable.


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