Fears public could miss out on having say on Wisbech incinerator plans
Fears that local people's voices will not be properly heard over the proposed mega incinerator in Wisbech have been raised after the Planning Inspectorate refused to consider pleas for an extension to planning procedure.
Virginia Bucknor, one of the leaders of the Wisbech Without Incineration (WisWin) campaign, has raised concerns after receiving a lengthy reply from the Government body explaining they cannot accept representations from the public at the moment as the plans by MVV Environment Ltd are in the pre-application stage.
However, Mrs Bucknor said her letter sent at the end of March just as lockdown was starting, was not objecting to the application, but was pointing out that the coronavirus pandemic meant public consultation events had been cancelled meaning people were not being properly asked their views, of the development which would see a 50 megawatt waste incinerator built off Algores Way.
Mrs Bucknor said: "There has been no proper consultation, MVV are persevering with the proscribed timetable and are not taking into consideration the current unprecedented situation.
"It appears they will be using emails sent by individuals as proof they have consulted, but not everyone has the facility to submit their views online.
"We have support from Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk who backed calls for the decision on MVV Environment Ltd's plans to be deferred to allow for proper consultation, and we have asked her colleague Steve Barclay, MP for our area to do the same, but he has not yet come back to us.
"It is important that people have the proper chance to have their say and that consultation events are held. But obviously that can't happen at the moment, which is why I wrote to the Planning Inspectorate to raise the issue over the inadequacy of the current consultation process.
"They have not answered my request, they have sent out a stock email, which other opponents of the plans have also received, and just referred us to the process for such an application as that being made MVV Environment. But these are unprecedented times and we want to see the process extended to acknowledge that.
"It seems our request has fallen on deaf ears, so I would urge everyone who is against this incinerator to email MVV Environment with their concerns.
"In the meantime we have had some large poster boards made thanks to a local farmer and we are now looking for farmers and land owners in prominent sites to put them up for us. Anyone interested can contact us through the WisWin Facebook page."
The Planning Inspectorate's response to Mrs Bucknor did give assurances that people would have their views heard.
Steven Parker, case officer at National Infrastructure Planning, wrote: "Please be assured that anyone interested in the proposed developments, their potential impacts and any planning matters can be fully engaged in the examination process. A copy of your (Mrs Bucknor's) correspondence has been placed on our records and will be presented to the Inspector at acceptance together with the application documents and local authorities’ comments on the applicant’s consultation."