Benn sends sewage plans back to drawing board

Three applications from South West Water to discharge sewage into the Atlantic Ocean off Cornwall have been refused by Government.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn decided the effluent discharges from Tintagel Fine Screening Installation and Bossiney Sewage Treatment Works would need a higher level of treatment than that proposed by South West Water.

His decision agrees with the recommendation of an independent planning inspector who conducted a public inquiry into the applications in 2006.

The inspector found the proximity of Tintagel and Bossiney meant the discharges from the two villages should be considered equivalent to those of one large settlement and were over the threshold for a higher level of treatment.

South West Water will now have to submit alternative plans for dealing with the sewage before discharging it into the ocean.

A spokesman told edie: "We will need to closely evaluate options to provide a secondary treatment works, probably at a new location to be decided.

"It is also probable that a new pumping station will be required to serve both communities and this, too, will require careful consideration.

"Our goal all along has been to provide residents and visitors with a modern sewage treatment system that represents the best value for money for all our customers. That remains our goal."

Campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and local residents' group Tintagel Against Inferior Sewage Treatment (TAIST) both gave evidence at the public inquiry urging the inspector not to support the applications.

SAS members even dressed up as King Arthur, Merlin and "Sir Campaignalot" on the first day of the inquiry in a nod to Tintagel's association with Arthurian legends.

"We are delighted that the Secretary of State and the Planning Inspector have come to this decision," said Richard Hardy, SAS campaign director.

He added: "The biggest thumbs up though has to go to TAIST, who have done a fantastic job in showing just what a local grassroots community group can do if there is an environmental challenge to be overcome."

Kate Martin



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