Monday, 20 January 2020

Complaint over U-turn and rewording of crucial report

WATLINGTON Parish Council has formally complained to South Oxfordshire District Council about its decision to withdraw its objection to the pig farm scheme.

In a letter to chief executive Mark Stone and head of planning Adrian Duffield, it claims a document about the impact of the proposed bypass has been reworded.

The report by consultants Ricardo Energy and Environment, which was commissioned by the district council, stated: “This study shows that without the proposed edge road, little of no improvement in air quality will occur between now and 2024 and nitrogen dioxide concentrations will remain close to or exceeding the annual mean objective set for the protection of human health.”

However, the words “or exceeding” have been removed from the executive summary. The letter says: “The parish council considers that the report does not justify the withdrawal of the district council’s previous strong objections to the development on air quality grounds. There is a clear risk that pollution will continue in the town centre and so the final sentence of the executive summary in the original report is correct.

“The aim of this report is to ensure that councillors are aware that the district council has failed to give full weight to the objectives and policies in the Watlington neighbourhood plan and, especially, has failed to protect the health of the Watlington community against the risk of continuing air pollution. Watlington Parish Council considers that this is unacceptable and has brought the actions of the district council into disrepute.”

A district council spokeswoman said: “In recent months new evidence on air quality and the impact of traffic have demonstrated that, subject to mitigation, this development would be acceptable.”

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