MMAG Spring Update from Chair

So where are we in our Covanta campaign? Some time ago we said that if Covanta stood on the edge of Rookery Pit and looked out across the Vale they would not see a single friendly face. That remains the case. Indeed the representations to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) record the overwhelming opposition of Bedford and Central Beds Unitary authorities, Town and Parish councils, campaign and environmental groups – and ourselves. Although each representation has been vital some of the work done arguing against has been stupendous. We should be proud of the way we all pulled together to ensure every argument was marshalled to fight off the Covanta proposal locally and in Westminster .

So we are fully engaged with the IPC process.

Responses to the IPC original written questions and requests for information, any written representations about the application that interested parties wished to make, the Local Impact Report and. Statements of Common Ground, setting out agreed factual information and prepared jointly by the applicant and an interested party were received by the IPC on 28 February 2011.

Further comments that interested parties wished to make on relevant and written representations, responses to IPC questions or the Local Impact Report were made in time by 28 March 2011.

The IPC have asked further written questions and made additional requests for information and replies to this second round of questions must be received by 9 May 2011, and any responses to these replies must be received by 6 June 2011.

A hearing will be by held by the IPC on 13 May 2011 at the Park Inn Hotel Bedford commencing at 10.00 am to consider the specific issues of the drafting aspects of the draft Development Consent Order and requirements, and the proposed agreement between the applicant and the local planning authorities under s106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. This will be a highly legalistic and technical hearing. The IPC requires submission of the final draft DCO and requirements, and completed s106 agreement by 6 June 2011. If necessary, a further hearing on these specific issues will be held on 13 June 2011.

If the IPC decides it is necessary for issue specific hearings to be held on any matters, that decision will be notified to all interested parties by 13 May 2011, and such hearings will take place between 13 and 24 June 2011. If any interested parties wish to be heard at an open floor hearing or any affected persons wish to be heard at a compulsory acquisition hearing they must formally notify the IPC by 6 June 2011 – its very important that people register to do so!

However the IPC anticipates that an open floor hearing will be requested and intends that this will be held on 5 July 2011 at the Forest Centre, Marston Moretaine, between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm with a break for lunch, and between 7.00 pm and 10.00 pm. A further session will take place on 6 July 2011 between 2.00 pm and 4.30 pm at the Forest Centre, and between 7.00 pm and 10.00 pm at the Village Centre Stewartby.

MMAG will be organising a demonstration to coincide with the open floor hearing – further details to follow.

Similarly, the IPC expects to receive requests from affected persons for a hearing to consider the compulsory acquisition of land and interests and intends to hold a hearing for this purpose starting at 10.00 am on 27 June 2011 in the Forest Centre, Marston Moreteyne and concluding by 1 July 2011.

The IPC also intends to make an accompanied visit to the Rookery South pit only on 4 February 2011 commencing at 11.00 am, and an accompanied visit to the application site and surrounding area on 12 July 2011 commencing at 10.00 am; both visits to commence at the entrance to the site.

MMAG will be organising a demonstration to coincide with these visits.

So its going to be a busy Summer !

Hugh Roberts