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Incinerator plan makes Cambridgeshire a 'dumping ground' says Waterbeach campaigners

By Ben Comber

Amey waste treatment facility - impression
Amey waste treatment facility - impression

The Waterbeach 'energy from waste' facility would burn waste that would otherwise go to landfill, producing energy and reusable materials.

Amey Waterbeach energy from waste graphic
Amey Waterbeach energy from waste graphic

The amount of waste that could end up at a proposed £200million incinerator in Waterbeach has prompted campaigners to claim it would make the county “a dumping ground”.

Amey, the firm behind the proposals, revealed in correspondence to Cambridgeshire County Council that no less than 70 per cent of waste processed at the plant would come from Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and the surrounding counties.

But resident group CBWIN, which is campaigning against the incinerator, said the plans are “not a sustainable solution” and that “Cambridge is not the dumping ground of more than 10 counties”.

A spokesperson added it was “more proof that Amey wants to burn as much waste from as far across the country as it can on the doorstep of Cambridge for big profits”.

The county council is the planning authority considering Amey’s application to build the facility at Waterbeach.

The source of the waste processed by the plant was one of its concerns, to which Amey stated it would accept an “appropriate and proportionate” restriction of the catchment area for waste, proposing 70 per cent would be local.

Amey’s account director Chris Smiles said: “The new facility has been designed to deal with household and commercial waste from across Cambridgeshire and we expect the majority of this will come from either Cambridgeshire or its surrounding counties.

“This is because much of the waste which will be treated in the energy from waste facility is already coming from these areas and would otherwise have been landfilled at Waterbeach.

“We have committed that at least 70 per cent of waste will be from the local region Cambridgeshire or its surrounding counties.

“However, there is some provision for flexibility and to provide (reciprocal) contingency arrangements for our other Amey waste plants to divert waste to Waterbeach in the event of shutdown. As good business practice, all our waste management treatment facilities provide contingency arrangements for one another.”

Campaigners voiced concerns about the fact Amey is processing waste from the Isle of Wight at its Waterbeach facility.

Mr Smiles said: “We are building a new waste treatment facility on the Isle of Wight and, once complete, it means that this waste stream will no longer come to Cambridgeshire. So we can continue to maximise waste recovery and recycling for our customers, we are, as a temporary measure, bringing kerbside separated recyclables to our Waterbeach Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) until construction is complete.”

Campaigners also raised concerns about emissions from the facility’s 80-metre chimney.

The county council asked for assurances about the emissions from the plant, to which Amey referred to an air quality assessment stating that the energy from waste facility “is not predicted to have a significant environmental effect in relation to air quality, odour and human health”.

Once operational, Amey said, it would display operational emissions monitoring information on its website.

The county council is accepting resident views on the application until May 29.


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