Agonising wait for Waterbeach incinerator decision after public inquiry
Campaigners hoping to prevent a waste incinerator taller than Ely Cathedral being built next to homes and schools face months of waiting for a decision by the government.
Last year, Cambridgeshire County Council turned down an application by waste management company Amey to build an energy from waste plant on Levitt’s Field in Waterbeach. But the firm appealed against that decision and now nearby residents will have to wait until March 15 to hear the planning inspector’s recommendation following a three-week inquiry which finished on Friday (November 22).
The secretary of state for housing communities and local government will then make the final choice about whether the incinerator will be built.
A spokesperson for campaigners Cambridge Without Incineration said: “As a group we feel optimistic. We feel we have been listened to and we feel that there’s so many negative impacts of that development, because of the location and proximity
of it to where people live and schools,
that it is the wrong solution in the wrong place. And none of that has changed.
“There is really strong emerging data on air pollution that is damaging to health. So we are hopeful it will be listened to and that the bigger picture is factored in. And research published after the end of the inquiry can still be taken into account by the secretary of state.”
One of the main grounds on which the council rejected the incinerator was its effect on nearby heritage site, Denny Abbey. Amey, which already runs a recycling centre in Waterbeach, has offered a series of measure to ‘mitigate’ the impact on the historic monument.
However, Historic England, the owners of Denny Abbey, has stated that while “the mitigation package has the potential to bring heritage benefits to the site” it would “not offset the harm which would be caused to the significance of the scheduled monument from the impact of the development on the setting of Denny Abbey”.
A spokesperson for Amey said: “An energy from waste facility on this site is undoubtedly the best outcome for Cambridgeshire. The proposed facility has strong environmental and social benefits, including local jobs and the potential to supply low carbon heat as well as electricity. It remains a strong proposal which we believe the inspector and secretary of state should support.”