Villagers have reacted with dismay after a company intending to construct a permanent ‘ash mountain’ near their homes announced it would resubmit plans.

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.

The plans were withdrawn earlier this week (June 29), but the company has now confirmed to the Advertiser that it intends to submit modified plans.

A spokesperson for Fortis said: “We have this week decided to withdraw our planning application for an additional IBA storage area at the A303 Enviropark. Following a revaluation of our storage needs and comments received from consultees, we intend to submit a revised application for a lesser area in the coming weeks.

“Recognising that the current application has attracted much attention, the revised application will address many of the concerns raised by consultees to date, while ensuring that the site, which is so strategically important to Hampshire’s waste management infrastructure, remains capable of operating at full capacity.”

A spokesperson for Keep Test Valley Beautiful (KTVB), which represents residents against the plans, said they remain “fundamentally opposed” to the plans.

Plans for the site were submitted in February, with plans for 5m high mounds of earth and a large concrete base for the ash store, as well as a lagoon to prevent leaching of the contents into the nearby chalk aquifer, with IBAA containing hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen.

Residents did not become 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.

KTVB had just submitted an extensive objection to the plans in July when they learned the plans were withdrawn. In this objection, they had argued the plan would have contravened elements of Hampshire County Council’s waste management plan, being surplus to requirements, 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.

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.

Speaking on the company’s intention to resubmit the plans, KTVB spokesperson David Wright: "This is disappointing news , but not unexpected. We will wait to see what the new application entails, and how many of our detailed objections it attempts to answer.

“However KTVB is fundamentally against the plan to make permanent the extended ash storage area.

“It is not needed and goes against the Hampshire Waste Plan."