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Mega incinerator planned for Wisbech could see rise in childhood leukaemia and other cancers

Public Health England has warned the mega incinerator planned for Wisbech could lead to a rise in childhood leukaemia.

Mo Stewart, a former healthcare professional and researcher, has spent many hours trawling through the lengthy Scoping Opinion report generated as a result of consultation on MVV Environment's Scoping Report for its proposed 50 megawatt waste incinerator.

Ms Stewart, who is carrying out research work in support of the various opposition groups against MVV's plans, explained the scoping report sets out what the company is planning and was open for public consultation over the Christmas period.

We are standing side by side with our readers against the incinerator. (33067513)
We are standing side by side with our readers against the incinerator. (33067513)

She criticised the move to publish the scoping report in December, which not only meant consultation ran over Christmas and New Year but also in the lead up to the general election.

Ms Stewart said: "Since learning of the planned development of a vast incinerator in Wisbech by the corporate giant MVV Environment Ltd, various protest groups have formed in an attempt to alert the public to the potential harm that will be created if permission is granted to build the incinerator at the local Algores Way Recycling Centre.

"As a retired healthcare professional, I have provided a detailed report for use by the Wisbech Anti-incinerator Working Party. What is cause for serious concern is that the company claim that the proposed site will generate 53MWh of electricity from burning plastic and other waste.

"This level of generated power guarantees that the planning decision is removed from local authorities and will be decided at government level. There are procedures in place to make this happen, and it begins with a Scoping Report provided by the company for the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

"This then generates a Scoping Opinion, as the Inspectorate consult with local authorities and other local experts for their reaction to the report.

"The Scoping Opinion is time limited to only 28 days, with no flexibility permitted by the legislation. Any late opinion provided is routinely disregarded. So, by offering the Scoping Report to the Inspectorate on December 3 2019, all official responses were required by January 3 2020, despite the fact that this period was during a forthcoming general election, the Brexit debate and the Christmas and New Year holidays," she said.

And added: "Fortunately, local authorities and experts rose to the challenge and significant opinions were provided by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC), Public Health England (PHE), Fenland District Council and many others."

The Scoping Opinion report is over 200 pages long and not only includes the views expressed by the various bodies consulted, but also highlights what MVV Environment should do in response to those comments.

Various concerns from traffic implications to what the impact of emissions from the incinerator will have on the local population's health are all highlighted in the Scoping Opinion report.

Ms Stewart said: "In particular, PHE identified the potential threat to public health created by the possible effects of long-term exposure to electromagnetic fields that would be created by the incinerator, demonstrating possible carcinogenic effects including a risk of increased childhood leukaemia.

"Cambridgeshire County Council identified the fact that the incinerator has ‘the potential to cause unacceptable effects to the health and quality of life of those living and working near the site’ and that consideration should be given to the fact that the planned incinerator meant that this was an ‘unsatisfactory development’, especially since the company have not considered other sites."


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