'It is a massively flawed scheme': Campaign to stop £300 million waste incinerator in Wisbech that would be higher than Ely Cathedral
PUBLISHED: 12:08 05 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:10 05 February 2020
A £300 million waste incinerator that could be built in Wisbech would have a chimney higher than Ely Cathedral and be just 200 metres from a school.
The power facility set for Algores Way would impact "air pollution, odour and congestion" and be "visible for miles", MP Steve Barclay says.
It would be positioned just 750 metres from the largest secondary school in the district, Thomas Clarkson Academy, 350 metres from The Eye Clinic and have around 300 lorry movements a day.
The chimney on the plant would be 95 metres high - while the spire of Ely Cathedral is 66 metres.
Outraged campaigners have launched the WisWIN (Wisbech Without Incineration) group in a bid to stop the build before it goes to the government for a planning decision at the end of the year.
The developer says this scheme is a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP), which is how they avoid a local planning decision.
North East Cambridgeshire MP, Mr Barclay, has also joined forces with the group saying he "strongly opposes" the plans by MVV Environmental Ltd to build the 50 megawatt plant.
"It is a massively flawed scheme," he said.
"It will be visually enormous and will generate more than 50 megawatts of energy.
"That will be half a million tonnes of waste and twice the size of what was proposed in Kings Lynn and twice the size of the next biggest plant which powers our naval port in Plymouth."
The scheme would see the Wisbech Rail land dug up and be built on a floodplain.
It is also feared that "medically dangerous particles" would drift from Wisbech into surrounding villages and across the county to Norfolk.
Former councillor Virginia Bucknor, who started the WisWIN Facebook group last week, said the response she has received so far has been "extraordinary".
She said: "This is really serious and will affect the whole area but the people of Wisbech have been kept in the dark.
"You can see Ely Cathedral from all over - so this puts this into context of just how devastating the size of it will be.
"It will be a huge blot on the Wisbech landscape.
"There will be 300 lorry movements a day as we are a primary route to North Norfolk and congestion is huge already.
"Half a million tonne of waste and is being built right next to schools."
Mrs Bucknor said she fears that "an air of secrecy" by developers has left the town not knowing the full extent of the build.
She continued: "The company are proposing to have three weeks with residents in June - so they are treating us like just a tick in a box.
"We are going to write to as many of the councillors as we can, people who work in the NHS, farmers, and parish councillors as we need people to know what is planned.
"It is horrifying and would be double the size of the plant that was proposed for King's Lynn.
"It was blowing into the Norfolk area as well because the chimney will be so big.
"Algores Way is part of the town it's just up the road from supermarkets and one of the biggest Fen schools.
"The amount of vehicles that will be pushing through 24/7 will mean 300 lorries a day - which is against every part of the environmental regulation.
"I feel that developers have just thought they can pick this spot of land in the countryside and push through plans without anyone noticing - but they've got that wrong."
Campaigners will be holding a rally at Wisbech Market Place with Steve Barclay MP on Sunday February 16 at 2.30pm.
Mrs Bucknor is urging residents to turn out in force to fight against the scheme.
"If people do not come on Sunday they will think that Wisbech is a walkover.
"We need people to be there - it will be difficult to fight if they cannot be there on this day.
"I fear that there is something sinister behind this to way we have been kept in the dark."
However, Paul Carey, managing direct of MVV Environment, said there would be "no smell" from the plant and around 700 jobs would be created while under construction and then 40 full-time posts once it is up and running.