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Bedfordshire incinerator 'confusion' criticised

A decision on planning permission for an incinerator in Bedfordshire has been delayed after another incinerator nearby was given the go-ahead.

Biogen Power wanted to build a 160,000-tonne capacity plant at the Twinwoods Business Park, Milton Ernest. Bedford Borough Council turned down the application and Biogen appealed to the secretary of state for communities and local government.

In the meantime, an application put in by Covanta to build a 585,000-tonne incinerator at nearby Rookery South Pit (above), was approved by the Infrastructure Planning Commission. The IPC made the decision, rather than the council, because of the project’s large scale.

Due to the IPC decision, the secretary of state has extended the deadline in which interested parties can comment on the Twinwoods incinerator application until 16 November.

Doug McMurdo, councillor for the Sharnbrook ward which covers Milton Ernest, said the parties involved were not communicating and that this was a national problem.

McMurdo said the Thurleigh Road site was not the best location for the incinerator because it did not have suitable transport links, but added that there was no national strategic plan for building such plants.

“Anyone can apply to build an incinerator – and they all know full well that councils have tonnages of waste that they need to get rid of cost effectively. But there’s no collective thinking.”

A spokesperson for the IPC, which is due to be disbanded next year, said: “When considering applications for national infrastructure projects, relevant planning authorities are invited to provide us with a local impact report. Interested parties can draw our attention to relevant projects which they consider should be taken into account in the assessment of cumulative effects.”

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