Odour-reducing technology will cost an extra £4 million
AROUND £4 million will need to be spent installing anti-odour covers on tanks at the new sewage treatment works following a recommendation from a planning inspector.
In December independent UK planning inspector Roy Foster came to the Island to assess the concerns of residents living near the site of the planned plant at Bellozanne, after the Infrastructure Department appealed against a previous decision not to allow planning permission for the project because of concerns raised by neighbours.
In his report Mr Foster said that the original plans would be in breach of a number of sections of the Island Plan – which governs building in Jersey – including a rule which states that no development should ‘unreasonably harm’ the living conditions of its neighbours.
He also stated that the sewage plant should not have a significantly adverse effect on air quality.
Environment Minister Steve Luce this week subsequently allowed the Infrastructure Department’s appeal and ruled that the development could go ahead on the condition that details of the anti-odour covers to be fitted were submitted to his department and approved for use.
He added that the area must also be landscaped to hide the plant and a study carried out to assess to what degree the area had been contaminated by old works before a remediation plan was put in place.
John Rogers, chief officer for the Infrastructure Department, said the addition of the covers would not have a major impact on the plant’s 2022 completion date. He added that the extra work was expected to cost in the region of £4 million.
He said: ‘We engineered both options into the plans. It was never the case that we were not going to do this if it needed to be done, we just wanted to try to get the best value for money.
‘We have now appointed a contractor who should be coming back to us with a price and we have budgeted for that.’
He added that the addition of the odour covers would only add a month to the total construction time and said: ‘It will be a case of having the lids manufactured elsewhere and then just added into the project.’
Meanwhile, Ted Vibert, chairman of the First Tower Community Association, welcomed the decision, saying that residents had provided compelling evidence to the inspector.
He said: ‘It is great news and shows that the planning officer agrees with us. Hopefully the smells in the valley will be cut down. We have been putting up with them for years. It seemed ludicrous that they were going to spend £52 million building a new plant which is meant to be state-of-the-art and up-to-date, but that it was too expensive to cover them.’
He added: ‘I think the inspector found the evidence we gave to him very helpful. One resident, Judy Beaumont, made a diary of all the noxious smells and he did use that and comment on it.’