Sunday, December 3, 2023
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Agency ‘failing over tip’



The Environment Agency has come under fire for its “failings” over Marlbrook Tip from Bromsgrove’s lead planning councillor.

Coun Kit Taylor, portfolio holder for planning services at the district council, criticised the Government agency at the latest tip working group meeting.

“The planning department at Bromsgrove gets a kicking every time because of the failings of the Environment Agency,” he said.

“The Environment Agency needs to up its game. I would suggest that it gets on with it, comes to its conclusion and possibly uses its emergency powers so that the planning department can get on with looking after planning for the people of Bromsgrove.”

Coun Taylor was speaking at the end of a meeting where representatives of both the planning department and Environment Agency said they were waiting to see what would happen next in the 25-year saga.

Environment Agency Reservoir Safety Manager Tony Deakin reaffirmed that their own inspection had concluded the balancing pond on the former tip was safe, but they were still waiting for the site owner to put in a planning application to bring on 68,000 tonnes of extra material to ensure it remained safe – as recommended by the site owner’s engineer.

He said the owner’s engineer had now “stepped down” and they were waiting to hear who the new engineer would be.

Bromsgrove’s head of planning, Ruth Bamford, said the council had not received a planning application, and as far as she was aware there had been no further tipping since a 28-day “temporary stop order” had expired on February 22.

“We have heard there is a new panel engineer. I suggest we see what view of the world the new engineer takes. I may not envisage any more tipping, but you all have my mobile number if necessary.”

County and district councillor Charlie Hotham pointed out that bringing the extra 300mm of “restoration soil” had been made a requirement five years ago and a statement back then had said “the Environment Agency would take suitable enforcement action if this was not carried out”.

Coun Hotham added: “Why haven’t you taken any action to ensure that this has been done?”

Mr Deakin said: “Our aim as a regulator is to encourage the owner to carry out the work.”

Mike Adams, of Lickey Community Group, said only a public inquiry could resolve the matter, but chairman Coun Richard Deeming closed the meeting without putting the proposal to a vote.