Waterbeach incinerator could be used to heat new town
Developers of a new town say they would consider heating homes with energy from a waste incinerator - if the giant plant wins planning approval.
Amey’s £200 million energy from waste incinerator is currently the subject of a planning inquiry after the county council refused permission for the building.
But developers of the former airfield in Waterbeach, Urban and Civic, say they will not object to the incinerator at the inquiry - despite it being just hundreds of yards from the edge of their new town.
And they would not rule out using the incinerator as a source of heating for their homes if it wins planning permission on appeal.
A spokesperson for Urban and Civic said: “Clearly if the incinerator does come forward, then we would be irresponsible not to consider a renewable source so close to our development, however we can not rely on that coming forward, and it is anyway some time before it can come on stream, even if planning progresses.”
Developers have outline planning permission to instal a district heating system that uses renewable energy to heat the homes in the new town. As well as the incinerator, which may not be approved on appeal, they have also looked at solar power as a source of electricity.
The spokesperson explained: “District heating can be delivered at a range of scales and our use at the smaller and mid scale does not rely on Amey, and we have spoken to other partners to progress these options.”
Even if the incinerator did win the planning appeal, then it would likely not be built in time to heat the first homes to be built on the neighbouring site.
The Urban & Civic spokesperson added: “It is therefore more likely that an electricity supply from solar energy will be considered as part of our sustainable energy solutions ahead of this date in order to better serve our early phases of development alongside a diversity of local energy production, that way we can ensure a robust and future-proofed energy supply, delivered in a phased manner. As the development will come forward in phases we can continue to progress the plans and work with a range of local and energy infrastructure partners to arrive at the right energy and heatsolutions for the development and the wider area.”
Campaigners from Waterbeach and neighbouring villages fought to prevent the incinerator winning approval at planning committee last year.
Amey wanted to create an energy-from-waste facility at Levitt’s Field, on Waterbeach Waste Management Park, off Ely Road, which would have treated up to 250,000 tonnes of waste per year.
But councillors rejected it on heritage grounds because of the visual impact of the development, which would have been near some important heritage sites including Denny Abbey. It was also refused it on the grounds of “significant adverse effects” on the landscape which could not be resolved through proposed mitigation.
Amey launched an appeal against the decision, which is set to go to public inquiry later this year. People and groups who objected at the planning committee have been invited to send their comments to the Planning Inspectorate by May 21.
A spokesperson for Amey said: “Amey is committed to supporting a more sustainable future for Cambridgeshire and the UK as a whole. As part of this commitment, we have been engaged in discussions with developers local to our Waterbeach site to discuss the possibility of using heat produced by our proposed Energy from Waste facility to heat the new homes and reduce the carbon footprint of the development. The heat would be in addition to electricity produced by the facility and exported to the National Grid. These discussions remain positive and are ongoing.”
More by this authorAlex Spencer