Legal aid won by campaigner trying to halt Sinfin waste plant plan
A CAMPAIGNER taking on a Government minister in a last-gasp court bid to halt the development of a waste plant in Sinfin has won legal aid to help pay her court fees.
Dorothy Skrytek is going head-to-head with the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, in a battle to stop the plant being built in Sinfin Lane.
Miss Skrytek, from Derby and South Derbyshire Friends of the Earth, is being helped with her challenge by protest group Sinfin and Spondon Against Incineration (SSAIN).
The groups believe that emissions would cause health problems for people living nearby.
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At a High Court hearing in Manchester on Friday, March 15, Miss Skrytek will challenge RRS's permission to build.
Mr Pickles is involved because the latest decision to give the plant the green light was made by a planning inspector on his behalf.
Now the SSAIN chairman, Simon Bacon, has revealed the environmentalists' lawyers have successfully applied for Miss Skrytek's legal aid.
Mr Bacon said part of the deal was they would also need to raise £3,000 costs from their local community towards the court fees.
He said: "It's a great weight off our minds the legal aid has been granted.
"Up to this point, we weren't sure how much cash we would have to raise from the community."
Mr Bacon said SSAIN would aim to raise more than the £3,000 needed – about £7,500 – through the legal aid deal, as it also needs cash to pay advisers used for the case.
He added extra money may also be needed as, in the event of Miss Skrytek winning the case, Mr Pickles may choose to appeal – and the environmentalists would want to challenge this possibility in court.
He said a leaflet campaign in Sinfin and Osmaston, asking for community donations, was about to get under way.
Mr Bacon said: "Any unused funds after the Sinfin battle has run its course will go back to the community."
Miss Skrytek, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, is up against Mr Pickles; the plant's would-be developer, RRS, and the city council which – along with Derbyshire County Council – has signed an agreement with RRS to deal with the county's household rubbish.
The plant is intended to be a central part of this work, dealing with 200,000 tonnes of household waste a year.
It would heat-treat the rubbish, creating gas which is then burned to generate electricity.
RRS's plans were originally rejected by the city council's planning committee, which feared environmental damage and traffic problems.
In September 2012, a planning inspector gave the plant the go-ahead and it is this decision which Miss Skrytek is challenging.