THEY were the ‘winners’ but there was little jubilation from Sutton Courtenay protesters tonight. Oxfordshire County Council may have selected Ardley over their village but people in Sutton Courtenay fear the battle may not yet be completely over. They also extended an offer of aid to Ardley to continue its fight against Viridor’s succesful bid.
More than 50 people from Sutton Courtenay and its neighbouring villages near Didcot were at County Hall to protest, believing they were the ‘favourites’ to get the £100m incinerator.
Roger Rance, chairman of the campaign group Sutton Courtenay Against the Incinerator, said: “There are no winners here. The real issue is the fact that there shouldn’t be an incinerator in Oxfordshire at all. “The decision came as a hell of a shock. “I’m very surprised and it’s hard to say I’m pleased, but we have worked very hard at Sutton Courtenay. “We’re still wary, this is not t
he end by a long shot. We will extend any help we can give to Ardley.” Fellow SCAI member Robin Draper, who is also from Sutton Courtenay, said incineration should not have been on the council’s agenda in the first place. He said: “It’s the wrong decision at the wrong time. “We’re pleased, but now our primary operation will be defeating the WRG planning application that still stands. “What the council has done is condemn Oxfordshire to one or two incinerators.” Callum Mackenzie, of Sutton Courtenay and a member of SCAI, said he had been shocked by the council’s decision. He said: “The report made it look as if we would get the incinerator and I was 90 per cent sure that would be the case. “Before the decision I didn’t know whether I would be drinking Champagne or crying tonight and I’m still not sure. I have a son and I don’t want him breathing this stuff in.”
Campaigners fear the company behind the failed tender, Waste Recycling Group, will continue with its plans. WRG said that it believed there was still capacity at its Sutton Courtenay site for an incinerator. John Plant, director of the company’s international construction and services group, said: “Of course we are disappointed at the council’s decision, but we shall be reviewing it carefully over the coming weeks before we decide on our next steps. “This will include whether or not to withdraw our planning application for Sutton Courtenay.”
Thanks to the Oxford Mail for allowing us to publish this story and Ed Nix for the photograph.