Waterbeach incinerator appeal could go to public inquiry
A plan to build a giant incinerator next to a fen-edge village looks set to go to a public inquiry after the waste operator lodged a last minute appeal against council planning refusal for the site.
Last year, county councillors threw out plans for an energy from waste plant in Waterbeach on the grounds of the “significant adverse effects” the giant incinerator would have on the local landscape and on heritage site Denny Abbey.
The decision followed a crowdfunding campaign by residents to pay for a report into the potential effects on the environment.
Now campaigners are once again preparing to defend their village against plans for the £200 million incinerator, which would be bigger than Ely Cathedral.
Campaign group Cambridge Without Incineration said: “CBWIN are disappointed to learn of the appeal, but not surprised. We have prepared for a number of scenarios, this being one. We have spent time engaging with expert legal advisors, planning, environmental and industry professionals to understand the implications of this scenario for the local area, community and CCC.
“Amey has gone against a robust council planning decision, widespread community opposition and the IPCC’s recommendations against increasing pollution and protecting against climate change. This is not a company that has genuine interest in innovative solutions that improve lives for people living in Cambridgeshire. This is the wrong solution and in the wrong place.
“We intend to fully engage with the appeal process and stand by the many reasons why our community remain fiercely opposed to this development. We continue to also be extremely mindful of the impact this development poses for the future 33,000 residents of the new town, who will live within a mile of the plant, some of which, including schools, will be within 500m and downwind of it.
“We hope that during the appeal, CCC will honour the strength of opposition from Cambridge residents and maintain in full their position of refusal and defend the full grounds on which that decision was made.”
AmeyCespa wanted to create an energy-from-waste facility at Levitt’s Field, on Waterbeach Waste Management Park, off Ely Road. It would have been taller than Ely Cathedral and was expected to treat up to 250,000 tonnes of waste per year to provide electricity for 63,000 homes.
But protestors - thousands of whom signed a petition against the proposals - were fearful of toxic waste products from the 80-metre chimney.
AmeyCespa lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate last week just before the six month deadline and it is likely the decision will be put to a public inquiry.
A spokesperson for Amey said they were ‘surprised and disappointed’ that their planning application for an Energy from Waste facility at Waterbeach Waste Management Park was refused by Cambridgeshire County Council’s planning committee, in spite of council officer support for the plan.
“Having spent a considerable amount of time reviewing its options, Amey has concluded that an Energy from Waste facility at the Waterbeach Waste Management Park is still the right solution for Cambridgeshire. In particular, the proposed location, adjacent to the county’s existing waste disposal facilities, is the most appropriate because all the county’s waste is processed on site currently; providing a unique opportunity for a one-stop waste processing and recycling shop.”
They added the proposed facility would help the county improve its recycling rates and to reduce landfill.
The spokesperson said: “Amey has therefore decided to submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to overturn this decision and is confident that an inspector will support its case.”
Whilst receipt of an appeal against the refusal of 21 September 2018 is unwelcome, it is not unexpected.
It has been issued just within the six month deadline for receipt of appeals.
Anna Bradnam, County Councillor for Waterbeach Division, said: "Amey would have invested a large amount of money in preparing the original application, so they were unlikely to take no further action. The application was refused on grounds of Landscape and Heritage identified by both County and District Planning authorities. The scale and massing of the proposed development were considered to have significant adverse effects on the landscape local character and visual amenity of local residents, as well as to the Grade 1 Listed Scheduled Monument of Denny Abbey. These grounds would seem difficult to overcome and I therefore hope very much that the Secretary of State will support the councils’ policies and uphold the refusal."
Cambridgeshire County Council said they were awaiting notification of a valid planning appeal adding they would 'ensure that all statutory parties and interested parties are sent notifications as required'.
More by this authorAlex Spencer