Opposition to proposed Wisbech incinerator subject of 'productive' meeting in Parliament
"Don't let us be a dumping ground for other people's unwanted stuff" - that was the message from leading Fenland councillors and the local MP this week when they met with a top government minister.
In what could be described as a pre-emptive strike Wisbech county councillors Steve Tierney and Sam Hoy, together with the town's newly appointed mayor Andrew Lynn and North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay met in London on Monday with Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to discuss plans for a mega-incinerator.
The Fenland delegation were there to explain why MVV Environment's plans for a 50 mega watt incinerator on land off Algores Way in Wisbech was totally inappropriate for the town, and completely opposed by all tiers of local government as well as the people of Wisbech.
Coun Hoy, who is also leader of Wisbech Town Council, said: "It was a very productive meeting. We explained how out of place the incinerator's chimney will be on our landscape - as it will be higher than Ely Cathedral - and will just stand out over the town.
"He represents Newark, an area not dissimilar to here and I think he could picture what it would look like. He was also shocked to learn just how close the site is to where people live, and we highlighted the fact it is so close to local schools too.
"The issues of the 300 lorry movements in and out of the incinerator site every day was also talked about and we explained just what a terrible impact they would have on the town and its environment.
"We also explained that because we are an area of deprivation that we sometimes feel we are a dumping ground for other people's unwanted stuff, with companies like MVV Environment thinking they can take advantage of us. They have already tried to build in King's Lynn and failed now they are trying for a second bite of the cherry in Wisbech and we asked him not to let that happen - we don't want to be a dumping ground."
Coun Hoy explained that as a result of that the discussion moved on to the Government's levelling up agenda and how in order for that to happen in Wisbech the railway should be built and the A47 needed to be dualled.
She said: "There is money available to help with levelling up and we want to make sure we get our share. We told him in order for Wisbech to prosper we need better infra-structure and emphasised the importance of both the railway line and the dualling of the A47.
"We explained that land is cheaper in our part of the county and so people are keen to build houses, but we want nice developments where people want to come and live, which will hopefully mean more firms relocating to Wisbech and bringing more skilled jobs.
"All in all I think it was a very productive meeting. As Steve Barclay explained these meetings are important. You may not get anything from them straight away, but when decisions about funding are being made ministers like Robert Jenrick will remember the conversation and have a more personal understanding of the local situation.
"Hopefully when MVV Environment eventually submit their planning application, he will look back on our meeting and will remember what we told him about why the scheme is so wrong for Wisbech and make his decision accordingly."