Campaign victory: Cambs County Council rejects Waterbeach incinerator plan

19 September 2018

Great news! On 17th September 2018, Cambridgeshire County Council’s planning committee voted to reject the planning application to build a giant waste incinerator near Waterbeach. South Cambs Green Party had formally objected to this proposal.

Local campaign group CBWIN have done a fantastic job alerting local people to this proposal and its risks. Nearly 2,500 people signed a petition and hundreds formally objected to the proposals. Members of South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge Green Parties were among the dozens of residents who spoke up at the planning meeting. Cottenham-based member Sandra read out a statement on behalf of the Green Party highlighting the many grounds on which we object to the proposal, including pollution of air, water and soil; impacts on people, wildlife and landscape; and the fact that the incinerator would reduce the incentive to recycle by creating a commercial demand for waste.

At the meeting, the planning committee's legal advisor emphasised that the application could only be challenged on certain aspects. It was ultimately rejected as 1) being detrimental to Denny Abbey and 2) that the height of the incinerator would blight the fenland landscape. The many other concerns raised by residents were not deemed relevant to the application.

mock up of incinerator visual impact

This image was produced by the applicant and is intended to show how the visual impact of the incinerator on historic Denny Abbey could be mitigated over the next 15 years!

Campaign groups across the country continue to battle planning applications for similar projects, while even here in Cambridgeshire the fight is not over as Amey Cespa are expected to appeal the Council’s decision. Green Party policy proposes a clear hierarchy of waste treatments, with reuse first, followed by recycling and composting, followed by treating the residual waste in non-polluting ways that produce useful products and the least possible quantity of inert material for landfill. The ultimate goal should be zero waste. Technological and social innovations continue to move us closer towards this goal (e.g. see this article). There is no place for large-scale waste incineration in a Green future.

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