Barrister Alex Goodman told the Cardiff High Court that Cardiff council must “quash” their decisions that allowed Viridor to start building their incinerator because they were taken unlawfully.
In an action brought by Cardiff Against The Incinerator campaigner Pauline Ellaway, he told Judge Wyn Williams the council had ignored regulations and allowed Viridor to start building the incinerator in Splott when it should not have done so.
Mr Goodman called the council’s actions “procedurally inept”. He claimed the authority’s reports and consultation process were flawed and that it failed to stop the building work when it should have done.
He said that CATI’s “submissions fell on deaf ears because work was allowed to proceed.”
“No robust action was being taken in respect of development that was continuning apace,” Mr Goodman said.
Construction of the £185m plant started in July 2012 before the planning conditions imposed by the council had been fully met.
Developers must “obtain consent and then commence works,” Mr Goodman said. “It is a simple sequence.”
CATI’s solicitors repeatedly sent letters requesting the council took enforcement action against Viridor.
Mr Goodman said “Throughout the claimant has taken considerable action to encourage the council to take action.”
“The council has always acknowledged it was unlawful and that the development was at risk.”
Despite this Mr Goodman said that the council allowed the building work to continue.
He claimed that the council allowed Viridor to report whether anything of archaeological importance was discovered during building work, rather than this being the responsibility of an independent body.
Mr Goodman said “It is appropriate for the court to quash these decisions."
Simon Bird QC, acting for Cardiff Council, insisted that the council had done nothing wrong.
“All substantive information was supplied to the council prior to commencement,” he said.
He dismissed the claims that public notices had not been formulated properly.
“There is no suggestion CATI were labouring under any misapprehension over what adverts meant or had any difficulty in responding,” he said.
Pauline Ellaway later said “The council cannot get away with flouting the law for a mega-company.”
Judge Wyn Williams adjourned the case and will give his decision in January.