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RICS L A N D JO U RN A L

n The

centre is clad in Siberian larch to reduce its apparent bulk

WASTE

A thing of beauty

Alison Carroll and Kris Eley review the lessons learned from building an award-winning waste management centre in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

T

he Bridport Waste Management Centre (WMC) in Dorset has garnered a series of prizes, including a RIBA South West Award, as well as being highly commended in the RICS Awards South West. Bridport sits in one of England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and its sensitive landscape has meant that the process of finding a suitable location for a waste management centre has proved difficult and contentious, taking some 20 years. In its citation for the award, however, RIBA stated that the facility is “a bespoke, considered, ruggedly handsome building that elevates the type”, acknowledging that such facilities are usually among the “maligned building types” that “generally do not benefit from the design attention that their scale and visual presence would otherwise warrant”.

Development in AONBs The government’s national policies on land use planning are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. Paragraphs 115 and 116 of this contain policies on protected landscapes, including AONBs, and confirm that great weight should be given to conserving 6 OC TOBER/NOVEMBER 2016

landscape and scenic beauty. They also set out the need to refuse major developments unless exceptional circumstances apply and it can be demonstrated that the plans are in the public interest. It says that “consideration of such applications should include an assessment of: b the need for the development, including any relevant national considerations, and the impact that permitting or refusing it would have on the local economy b the cost of, and scope for, developing elsewhere outside the designated area, or meeting the need for it in some other way b any detrimental effect on the environment, the landscape and recreational opportunities, and the extent to which that could be moderated.” Despite this, AONBs are coming under increased pressure from unplanned, inappropriate development. The 2015 National Trust publication AONBs and development offered a series of case studies and identified shortcomings in the way planning policy is being applied. One finding was that national policies and procedures need to be taken into account when making decisions in AONBs. Development need In the mid-1990s, it was recognised that

disposal space in the west of Dorset was in short supply as local landfills reached capacity and closed. The Landfill Directive (Directive 99/31/EC) also significantly reduced the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that could be landfilled. As part of the Dorset Waste Strategy, a series of waste management centres was proposed at which smaller waste volumes could be bulked up and transferred to larger facilities. Bridport was identified as a location for one such WMC, and there was also a need for a new household recycling centre (HRC) for the town following the closure of the facilities at Bothenhampton landfill and a need to replace an inadequate temporary facility. The lack of suitable facilities was resulting in waste collected in Bridport being delivered to remote landfills at considerable environmental and economic cost. Key lesson: Development need AONBs are places in which people continue to live and work. Some development is justified in an AONB, such as the provision of essential infrastructure, but the case for it needs to be made robustly.

Alternative sites Significant environmental and policy constraints pertain across the area of search, including those that apply to the AONB as well as the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and Heritage Coast. Bridport is located entirely inside the AONB and at least 10km from the nearest undesignated area; developing outside the AONB would not be sustainable.

Profile for RICS

Land Journal October–November 2016  

Technology is affecting many aspects of surveying, offering new ways to look at and shape the world, and this issue covers a wide range of f...

Land Journal October–November 2016  

Technology is affecting many aspects of surveying, offering new ways to look at and shape the world, and this issue covers a wide range of f...

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