So the IPC have come and gone – so what happens now ?
Copies of various documents and representations can be viewed via the Project Documents buttons on the IPC website – http://infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/
Audio recordings of the open floor and issue specific hearings are also available to listen to – Click Here then choose the Hearings button or use the links below.
Open Floor Hearings
5th July 7pm – Full
6th July 2pm – Full
6th July 7pm – Full
Issue Specific Hearings
17th June pm Noise – Full
21st June Landscape, Visual Impact and Design – not yet available
22nd June Heritage – not yet available
Documents are also available at the following venues:-
- Bedford Borough Council, Town Hall, St Pauls Square, Bedford, MK40 1SJ
- Central Bedfordshire Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, SG17 5TQ
Enquiries about the proposal can also be emailed to the IPC at: RookerySouth@infrastructure.gsi.gov.uk or telephone the IPC helpdesk on 0303 444 5000
All the contributions are worthy but as regards documents its worth reading Dave Cooper’s notes for the Stewartby open floor hearing – they get to the heart of the issue. And if you really want you can listen to Dave also.
Two things will happen now. First the IPC will consider the evidence and either make a decision or a recommendation. Second whether the IPC makes a decision or a recommendation depends on whether Parliament designates the National Policy Statements on Energy Infrastructure – if they do it empowers the IPC to make a final decision from which there would be no appeal to the Secretary of State although there is still the opportunity to do a judicial review. If they don’t they will make a recommendation and the final decision will be the Secretary of State. Although we are monitoring the process in Parliament the odds are that the Statements will be designated. Whether decision or recommendation this has to happen by October 15th. We expect this much sooner.
So what is the likely outcome? Experience teaches us in this campaign that people prefer to be Jeremiah muttering dismally that ‘its going to happen’ rather than Pollyana. The truth is we just don’t know – the IPC reiterated at each hearing that they had made no provisional judgement.
Covanta have pointed out to the IPC their interpretation of the Statements to mean that there should be presumption in favour of development and that although their proposal has a dual purpose – waste management and electricity generation – it should be energy policy that is pre-eminent in the minds of the IPC and that the need for new electricity generation projects is urgent. The proposal is classified as a generating station. Well no surprises there!
Both Central Beds and Bedford Borough Councils have reiterated the Statements state that only waste that cannot be reused or recycled with less environmental impact and would otherwise go to landfill should be used for energy recovery and drawn attention to the fact any waste handling should be enclosed – Covanta propose to store the ash, adequately damped, in the open and will burn everything. This is why Dave Coopers observations are pertinent – Covanta need to burn plastic because of its thermal calorific value and recover glass from the ash – otherwise its valueless. Other parties have pointed out this is the first time this century a private company have had bestowed upon it compulsory powers of land acquisition justified in the public interest.
If the IPC grant consent we will need to consider how we can ensure the inspection regime is thorough. If they don’t we will still have a large hole in the ground on the edge of the village, for sale by a property developer. As a community we need to campaign to redefine its long term use as an ecologically integrated part of the country park rather than a potential site for industrial units and waste storage and treatment.
Whatever – MMAG will be there fighting and making sure that our voices are heard. Have a great summer!
Chair – MMAG