A DECISION has been deferred on an appeal against the controversial plans for a £500million incinerator at Javelin Park near Stroud.

At London's High Court today, Stroud District Council (SDC) challenged a government planning inquiry's decision to approve Urbaser Balfour Beatty's (UBB) proposal to build the huge burner in Harescombe.

Mrs Justice Lang said she would reserve her judgement on the case for a few weeks.

SDC’s case centred on the government’s interpretation of Gloucestershire County Council’s Waste Core Strategy, and hinged on the issue of the incinerator’s height and scale.

Representing SDC, Mr Simons said there had been a misrepresentation of an inspector’s original report to the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles.

He argued there had been a failure to properly consider some evidence about the visual impact the incinerator would have on the Area of Natural Beauty.

UBB's plans for the £500m energy-from-waste plant include a 70 metre high chimney, which SDC say would have a negative effect on the landscape.

Arguing for the incinerator, Mr Phillips QC rejected the idea there had been any limitation on the building’s height and said that a chimney of that size was an "inevitable consequence" of an incinerator of that scale.

The incinerator is designed to burn over 92 per cent of Gloucestershire’s waste that would normally go into landfill, and generate enough electricity to power 26,000 homes.

SDC leader Geoff Wheeler said: “We put forward a robust case demonstrating the adverse effect Stroud District Council believes the proposed waste incinerator will have on the district. Naturally we had hoped for a firm outcome today, but we are hopeful that a decision will be made in the next four weeks.”

The county council's planning committee originally rejected plans for the incinerator but UBB appealed the decision and Brandon Lewis, MP, a junior minister in Mr Pickles' department at the time, ruled in favour of building the burner at a planning inquiry.

UBB said it was "confident" the High Court would "uphold the Secretary of State's decision to award planning permission".

If SDC wins the High Court hearing, the case will go back to the government for further review.

If the council loses at the High Court, there will be no way of stopping the incinerator other than protesters physically blocking access to Javelin Park – which is not unthinkable given the strength of the opposition to the burner.