Over 300 turn out for anti-incinerator rally in Wisbech - despite blustery winds and rain
Unite and write was the double message given at an anti-waste incinerator rally in Wisbech on Sunday afternoon.
Despite blustery and cold conditions around 300 people joined the event held on Wisbech Market Place and organised by members of the Wisbech Without Incineration - WISWin - team.
Two speakers outlined the main concerns over plans to build a mega waste incinerator on a site close to the Thomas Clarkson Academy, off Algores Way.
The crowd, some symbolically wearing masks to demonstrate fears over the air pollution the incinerator will cause, listened as first Dr Alan James, chairman of Cambridgeshire's Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and then Michael De Whalley, who was one of the leading campaigners in the first to stop an incinerator in King's Lynn speak.
Dr James, who was introduced by Virginia Bucknor, one of the founders of WISWin, highlighted fears the incinerator will add to climate change by pumping huge amounts of CO2 into the air, as well as harmful particulates, laden with highly dangerous chemicals including Cadmium and Nickle.
He also explained how the incinerator will harm recycling efforts as the need for waste to feed its fires will see recyclables burned instead of recycled and reused.
Dr James urged everyone opposed to the incinerator, which is being proposed by German-owned firm MVV Environment Ltd, to write to letters.
"The company behind this has a German parent company, German companies are very, very PR conscious. You need to write to the parent company in Germany and explain exactly what your concerns are.
"Write to your MP. He has put 10 very good questions on his website. Ask the developer to answer those questions. Write to your MP and ask him to push for incinerator tax. And engage positively with your town, district and county councillors. This is a national infra-structure project, so make sure the planning inspectorate receives loads of letters from Wisbech - they have to take your views into account.
"Work together - forget political differences and speak to each other and work together."
His message was mirrored by Mr De Whalley who said: "Your only chance to beat this abomination is to forget political differences, join together and fight it unified as a community with every ounce of effort you have ."
Mr De Whalley who spent five years battling plans to build a much smaller incinerator in King's Lynn said: "Incineration is a blight on communities. Incinerators are invariably oppressive buildings towering above communities with huge satanic stacks. Those who live under their shadow live in constant fear for their health and well-being."
One of the key messages from Mr De Whalley was the point that Defra states: "There is no safe level for particulate matter. Yet the planning inspectorate have already agreed with the applicant that they have no issue with the health effects on the community of this proposed incinerator."
He added: Wisbech is, not to put too fine a point on it in the firing line. Norwich saw off its incinerator only for another scheme to threaten King's Lynn where it took five long years of struggle to defeat it.
"An overwhelming local poll was ignored, where 65,616 voted not to incineration. Then on to Waterbeach, which has valiantly fought another incinerator, with the planning inquiry decision yet to be announced.
"The evil eye now focuses on Wisbech. The huge size of this incinerator short circuits the planning process straight up to government limiting your time to campaign against it.
"Write letters to the papers, to your MP, to your councillors, to the Prime Minister, and especially to Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.
"Keep writing to them, again and again, relentlessly. Eric Pickles, when secretary of state, received more letters about the King's Lynn incinerator than anything else, including the ever threatened third Heathrow runway."
Mrs Bucknor told the crowd MVV are planning a "tick box" consultation event on March 31. "Keep a look out for it. It is absolutely essential as many people as possible go and put their views and ask questions.
"I would like to thank everyone for coming and turning out despite the weather, I would especially like to thank the mayor and the councillors who have come too."
She urged everyone to visit the newly launched WISWin website to follow updates and to also find contact details for those who want posters or placards to display.