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Councils take incinerator objections to Parliament

More than 20 town and parish councils have petitioned Parliament objecting to an Energy from Waste incinerator.

The Bedfordshire councils are opposed to the planned Covanta Energy Rookery Pit South which was approved by the Infrastructure Planning Committee in October 2011. A 21-day Parliamentary petitioning period began on 29 November for people affected by the proposed facility.

Councillor Sue Clarke is coordinating the authorities’ response. She told the local paper: “Some of [the councils] put in petitions of general objection and others also submitted a petition of amendment. Covanta now has until Tuesday to challenge our locus standi [legal standing before a court]. If it does then there will be a hearing where we will be asked to argue our case.

“The petitions are extremely rare and I don’t think it’s happened in 12 years.”

The Covanta Energy plant would encompass an EfW facility and post treatment MRF. The site would convert around 585,000 tonnes of residual waste per year into 65MW of electricity, of which 55MW would go to the national grid. At least half of the energy generated will be classified as renewable.

The Marston Moreteyne Action Group (MMAG) has also registered as an interested party in order to petition against the proposed facility.

Hugh Roberts, chair of MMAG, told: “We will revisit our case that this facility is not needed here. We will attempt to persuade Parliament that the will of the people has been ignored and that this is their opportunity to restore our confidence in them.”

In its submission to the IPC in October 2010, MMAG said it objected to the plans on the basis of air emission, the effects on biodiversity and geological conservation, “dust, odour, artificial light, smoke, steam and insect infestation”, the visual impact, the size of the site, noise, and traffic.

They said: “To situate the EfW within Rookery Pit South adjacent to the Marston Vale Millennium Country Park – a primary purpose of which is to re-forest the Marston Vale – would be a retrograde step ecologically and lead to significant habitat loss and ultimately the industrialisation of Rookery Pit South.”

The mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, has objected to the plant because he is against incineration. The local paper said the mayor suggested his council will not send rubbish to the plant if it is built.

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