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Countryside charity adds its voice against planned mega-burner for Wisbech

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A countryside charity has written an 18-page letter objecting in the "strongest possible terms" to plans for a mega-incinerator in Wisbech.

CPRE Cambridgeshire and Peterborough submitted its objection having reviewed the proposal at the request of local residents.

It's principal objection is the impact the proposed development by MVV Environment Ltd would have on the Wisbech Conservation Area stating: "The looming mass of the proposed building and the visible plume from its 95 metre chimney will clearly affect the character of the town and will negate any improvements that could be made to the town setting in the future by removal of less attractive buildings between the Conservation Areas and the proposed site."

What the incinerator will look like from Halfpenny Lane. (55136638)
What the incinerator will look like from Halfpenny Lane. (55136638)

CPRE points out the proposed development would be within 950 metres to the south of the Wisbech Conservation Area, which includes 227 listed buildings and the town centre character areas which are 1.5 km north of the site.

The development would be approximately 1.6 km to the north-west of Elm Conservation Area.

It said: "CPRE does not accept the assessments of ‘Not Significant’ effects on the Conservation Areas. Visually, intervening buildings may affect ground-based views towards the development but there has been no attempt that we can see to assess the effect from first or second storeys.

The blue building is what the proposed incinerator will look like alongside the existing cold store. (55136625)
The blue building is what the proposed incinerator will look like alongside the existing cold store. (55136625)

"CPRE objects most strongly to the attempts to belittle the importance of the Conservation Areas and the willingness to put them at risk from visual impact, actual and potential, and several forms of disturbing and corrosive pollution.

"Historic buildings are not confined to the two Conservation Areas. Historic England records 290 listings in Wisbech, Fenland, Cambridgeshire. It is clear the effect on most of these has not been considered individually at all as part of the preparation for this development, despite their being listed in the PEIR (preliminary environmental information report) document."

CPRE also objects on environmental grounds and said: "This proposal takes no responsibility for local greenhouse gas emissions or the efforts of elected local councils to reduce them. Instead it seeks to hide an irresponsible approach in national or even international figures where someone else can do the saving while this proposal adds to the problem.

The Fenland Citizen is standing side by side the community in the fight against the Wisbech incinerator. (55136609)
The Fenland Citizen is standing side by side the community in the fight against the Wisbech incinerator. (55136609)

"Furthermore, the PEIR Chapter 14 attempts to prove that building and operating this plant and transporting waste from outside the local area to it, and fly-ash away from it, will create less greenhouse gas emissions than not building it.

"It seeks to do this by assuming that if this waste is not burned, it will end up permanently in landfill.

"This is a deliberately false assumption.

"We therefore regard this proposal to transport large quantities (circa 200 lorry loads per week, 400 HCV movements) of waste over significant distances and burn it for profit as totally irresponsible in the context of the now extant Climate Emergency."

On potential health hazards from emissions of fine particulates from the proposed plant CPRE said: "It is now well recognised that the health risks arising from the presence of small particulates, PM2.5, in the atmosphere are considerable. Over recent years many respected publications have addressed this risk and built upon the considerable knowledge base which has developed since the mid-twentieth century.

"CPRE would recommend a condition, whereby frequent, preferably continuous, independent, measurement of emissions are funded by the operator and managed by the Environment Agency.

"It is a simple rule of physics that what goes up must come down. However, we can find no modelling of the deposition of particulates in the proposal. Such deposition results in particulates being found in street and playground dusts, which can be dangerous to health, as well as on crops grown for human consumption.

"Unfortunately, there is no statutory consideration of the deposition effects of PM2.5 particulates. However, with a school very close nearby and this site being located in the centre of a nationally significant food crop growing area, CPRE believe that consideration should be given to this issue by the relevant authorities in order to evaluate the long term health risk it poses."

Other objections include light pollution caused by the plant,flooding problems as the site is in a high risk flood zone 3 area, concern over potential accident hazards including fires, and the negative impact the plant will have on the low-lying Fenland landscape.

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