Villagers threatened with a 30,000 tonne ash “mountain” have celebrated after plans for the stockpile were withdrawn.

Fortis IBA Limited had applied to build the storage area for incinerator bottom ash aggregate (IBAA), a by-product of waste incineration, at the Enviropark near the A303. The stockpile was given temporary permission during the pandemic, but the company had applied to make the site permanent.

However, following objections from residents of Longparish and Barton Stacey, as well as politicians, the plans have been withdrawn.

David Wright, chair of Keep Test Valley Beautiful (KTVB), which had campaigned against the plans, said: "We are delighted that common sense has prevailed. Once news of the proposal became known, more than 100 villagers from Longparish and Barton Stacey filed an objection as well as KTVB’s professionally prepared and very comprehensive document setting out the compelling reasons why this scheme should not go ahead.

“Among the points KTVB made was that the proposal was in breach of Hampshire County Councils own waste disposal policy, which I think would have made it very difficult for them to have given it the green light.

“We will keep a close watch on progress in the removing of the existing ash pile and the return of the site to grassland.”

Plans for the site were submitted in February, with residents not becoming aware of the proposals until April, after which point the consultation had closed. The parish councils of both villages successfully campaigned to have the consultation reopened after raising concerns over the public consultation process.

The site is near to that of a previously proposed incinerator, which was at the heart of an ongoing community campaign against it. Residents, councils and campaigners came together to fight the plans before it was abandoned last year, with the same groups coming back to take on the new proposals.

The stockpile plans would have seen a large concrete area created, surrounded by 5m high mounds made of excavated material and soil, to store tens of thousands of tonnes of IBAA. During construction, around an acre of trees were to be cleared.

Residents had disputed the necessity of the site, as well as its impacts on the local environment and potential for toxic compounds in IBAA to leach into a chalk aquifer beneath the site. Caroline Nokes, the area’s MP, accused the company of “seeking to exploit the emergency measures needed in the pandemic”.

However, Fortis IBA said that the plans were necessary due to the impacts of the Covid pandemic, and that the concrete base would have protected the environment from any risks of the ash.

KTVB had just submitted an extensive objection to the plans, in which they had argued the plan would have contravened elements of Hampshire County Council’s waste management plan, with the site being built in the countryside, having “an adverse impact” on protected species such as dormice, and raised concerns about the impact on public health following alleged ash escape from the existing stockpile.

Fortis IBA did not respond to a request for comment on these concerns.

Subsequently, on Tuesday, June 29, the company formally withdrew the plans from consideration by the county council. While these plans will now no longer go forward, they may choose to submit the plans in a modified form in the future.