Resident Letters to Covanta Consultation March/April 2010

The following are replies sent by residents from Marston Vale and surrounds:

If you would like to record your own letters on this page you can:

a)  cut and paste your letter as a comment to this pageyou can choose how much detail you wish to give regarding your name and location (you could simply put [village/town name] resident) – you must give an email address for admin purposes but this will not appear on the final page

b)  send your letters to mark email as “Resident Letters to Covanta” and state how much detail you wish to give regarding your name and location


5 thoughts on “Resident Letters to Covanta Consultation March/April 2010

  1. I believe that the area in which the Covanta Incinerator is proposed is currently very beautiful. I believe it would be spoiled by the presense of this incinerator.

    Further, I believe the air quality, both in Stewartby which currently contains wonderful parklands, open spaces and nature reserves and also in my home town of Bedford, would be seriously damaged by this incinerator. Burning is a chemical process. Burning waste is an indiscriminate chemical process. One cannot know what will be contained in the waste. That is the nature of waste. If one does not know what one is putting into a chemical reaction one certainly does not know what one will be getting out. However much Covanta might talk about scrubbing the waste, it will not be possible to prevent harmful and noxious substances entering the air. Covanta have been fined twice in three years at just one of their operations in the USA. Please see, for example: the article at web page:, which is taken from the New Haven Register for Tuesday 24 August, this year (2010). If Covanta are conducting themselves in this way in the USA, we have no reason to suppose they will behave any better here.

    The facility will also be huge and it will spoil a fabulous view. It will compromise the sailing club, the wetlands centre and the proposed Centre Parks development. It will even spoil the view across the valley from Ampthill Park.

    The incinerator will also have an extremely detrimental effect of jobs in the area. The mid Bedfordshire MP, Nadine Dorries, is currently engaged in bringing jobs to Bedfordshire via the tourist industry. The area around Ampthill and Stewartby has tremendous potential for tourism as well as for the relaxation and reinvigoration of the residents of Bedfordshire. There is sailing and water sports, the nature reserve of the wetlands centre, the history of Ampthill, one time home of Henry VIII’s first bride, Katherine of Aragon, the marvellous views of Stewartby Lake and the views across the valley from Ampthill Park. All of these features could contribute to a fabulous tourist industry in central Bedfordshire. All of these features will be massively compromised if Covanta are allowed to build a huge, dark satanic mill, spewing filth into the atmosphere, right in the heart of this wonderful resource. The whole proposal is complete and utter madness.

    In summary therefore. I object to the incinerator on the followin grounds:

    1) It will poison the air we breath and damage our health, causing cancer, bronchitus and other respiratory illnesses, some of which will result in the early death of the residents.

    2) It will cause unemployment by compromising Bedford’s tourist industry and driving away tourism.

    3) It will compromise and spoil some wonderful recreational facilities, such as the views of the lakes, the sailing club, the wetlands centre, the forest of Marston Vale and Ampthill Park.

    4) It will be extremely unsightly.

    5) It will generate a large quantity of toxic ash, which will need to be disposed of.

    6) It will clog and damage our roads.

    Finally, what are the benefits of this incinerator? A very few jobs – much less in number than the jobs which will be lost due to the loss of tourism to the area and 65 Megawatts of electricity. 65 Megawatts of power is nothing. It could not adequately heat 20,000 family homes in winter. A standard electric shower takes 9 kilowatts. A kettle takes 3 kilowatts. A standard fan heater takes 2 or 3 kilowatts. The power generated by this huge and dangerous structure is pitiful.

    The Covanta Incinerator provides no end of problems and all but zero benefits. For that reason I do not want it. Here is an example of what one can do with 65 Magawatts of electricity:

    Run 7,222 bathroom showers


    boil 21,666 kettles


    Run 21,666 fan heaters in 21,666 student or old age pensioner bedrooms.

    Are we really going to ruin our lovely county for such a pitiful amount of energy?

  2. Covanta,

    I am opposed to your plans to build a 600,000 tonne incinerator. I know something as to be done about waste however, why the Marston Vale has to deal with three or four other counties waste is beyond comprehension. The pollution from incineration and increased amount of traffic will be devastating for the area. You also know that house
    prices will plummet in this area if you get the go ahead for your proposed venture and I am sure that you will not compensate people for this. You are relying on public lethargy to get this proposal through. I doubt you have performed a door to door consultation with residents. I know quite a few people in Marston and they are generally unaware of what is going on.

    I have suffered so much stress in the last year over your incinerator proposal that I have had to moved away from the Marston Vale. I don’t want to breathe the pollution that you will produce, I don’t want to hear the hundreds of lorries trundling past my door and I don’t want to look at the monster you will build every time I walk around the millennium park, if by chance you get this proposal through.

    Although I have moved away from the Marston Vale I still care about what happens there. I will be on all the protests that I can make and will use my vote for any politician opposing your plans.

    Jeff Joynson

  3. Dear Sir
    I wish to register my objection to your proposed principle for an incinerator based in the Marston Vale at Rookery Pit.

    Being a very busy man with heavy work load commitments and in raising a family it could become easy to ignore many things in life, leave the leg work to others and not be counted with an opinion. Unfortunately for you the proposal you have tabled threatens my may of life and many things that I hold dear.

    Based on this I will outline why I wholeheartedly disapprove of this ill thought and ill proposed monstrosity that is supposed to ‘benefit’ me and the community I live in and where I feel you have not disclosed a sufficient level of information either willingly or very naively.

    1. After seeing the visual aids of the balloons over the site area I can now fully appreciate the extent and size of what will be seen above the height of the ‘pit’ area. With this proposal operating 24 hrs a day this will not only be a permanent ‘blot’ on the landscape with the loss of a wild life area and a tranquil site but also give over to unacceptable levels of light pollution with a plant that is in continual operation.

    2. I feel there has been a lack of clarity around why Rookery Pit was a preferred site over all other locations and indeed the process in which this decision was made, points system or maybe just a finger in the air decision?

    3. As I understand there will be a minimum of 300 lorry movements a day with another 150 cars moving to and from the proposed site. I also understand that they will need to use the new A421 duel carriageway exit to reach their destination. Where I feel Covanta have failed to provide clarity is around the governance of the route that vehicles will take in this case. For example you have stated that vehicles will move between 05:00 and 23:00, however from my experience of moving around in the early morning and passing the Brogbourgh land file site, is that vehicles ’stack’ around the location in order to be first to dump when the site opens. The consequence of the elements I have outlined with your proposal is that there will be an increase in traffic on the A421 and also the Marston exit, of which the original study for the use did not incorporate. Also that the local roads around the villages in this area will become a haven for parked lorries waiting to be first in the queue to discard their load, of which you have still not provided information on the content.

    4. With the impact of the traffic on the local area why have Covanta not formulated a strategy and produced a paper on the feasability of using rail to transport thier ‘goods’ to the site. After all the proposal is set between not one but two rail lines. Could it be that this would be additional expense that shareholders would not want to support in relinquishing some of thier profits? It seems to me that this proposal is being developed on a ’shoe string’ budget without proper thought on the business model.

    5. I was fortunate enough to go and see your ‘display’ in the Marston Village Hall a few weeks ago, and I saw some flasks containing rocks which were labelled as ‘ash’. At this piont I decided to look up the definition of ‘ash’ in the Consise Oxford English Dictioary to be sure that my poor English education had not escaped me and the definition had been replaced with ‘rocks’. I was pappy to find that my understanding was still correct and indeed my education had stood the test of time. The definition of ‘ash’ is ‘the powdery residue left after the burning of a substance’. I think the important piont here is the word ‘powder’, something that I did not see in my village hall or in the flasks. The additional piont to make around these rocks is how are they going to be disposed of? Is it Covantas intention to disposed of it by extending the site to ‘land fill’ this residue or trasnsport it away in specialist vehicles and therfore adding again the the increase in traffic and bio haxard around the village.

    6. The last point I would like to make, as I am sure you are starting understand my thought around this subject is, as Bedfordshire continue to increase their ability to recycle then what is the proposal to feed the incinerator to make it viable? could it be that once the incinerator site is established then further contracts would be awarded to maintain ‘acceptable’ production. I can’t come to any other conclusion other than this could only be achieved with an additional increase of further traffic on a wider scale on our local and national roads increasing the nations carbon foot print and that within Bedfordshire.

    As a summary I would like to conclude that I find the proposal flawed on many counts, some of which I have not mentioned. I also find that the suggestion that reducing my amenity bill by £100 a year as an acceptable trade off as an insult on my intelligence and my principles.

    Nathan Deverell


    To Whom it Does Concern,

    We have lived in Churchill Close, Stewartby for 9 years – the main reason was because we felt it was a safe environment for our children to grow up in. Yes the chimneys were still running BUT we knew they were ceasing.

    When the red balloon was put up last weekend it put the incinerator into perspective for us – we feel that the proposed facility is far too large for a site to be so near to a population which is steadily growing – humans and wildlife.

    People will no longer wish to live in this QUIET village which will become unindated with 900 lorries a day, not to mention the car movements too for employees. The surrounding roads can’t cope with current traffic and this will make them even more gridlocked than what they are at the moment. Yes the new A421 was designed to cope with existing traffic problems and some elements of growth but the volume of lorry and associated traffic for a large scale industrial area will be beyond the capacity of the road – even Green Lane the road into Stewartby won’t be able to cope.

    Stewartby will become an undesirable place to live – who wants to live near an incinerator ? We certainly don’t, considering we only live 500 metres away from the proposed entrance – we won’t be able to sell our house, especially at normal market value – who’s going to pay for the loss in value ?

    The site will definately have a negative impact – the sheer size of the building and chimney will dominate the skyline and it will be visible from our house which is part of the conservation area.

    Surely this will also affect the popularity of the Country Park too as the incinerator will be up against the railway line right by the footpaths of the Park ?

    Incineration is the least environmental friendly way of disposing of waste. What will be burnt ? What will be the emissions from the chimney – the company is declining to answer this ! Considering Covanta has been in the news for heavy fines in the USA due to emitting excessive cancer-causing chemicals, why risk this happening here ? We don’t want to even worry if we will have to be burying our children 10 years down the road !! You have mentioned three incinerators in Hampshire in replies to other peoples emails. We have found their emissions readings on Veolia Environmental Services website and we are not too thrilled at the results. Average daily emissions of Oxides of Nitrogen 90% of LIMIT – this contributes to acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer and has detrimental effects on health. Average daily emissions of Hydrogen Chloride 70% of LIMIT – mixed with water it forms a strong acid which is very corrosive. Acid rain can damage crops and forests. We grow vegetables – how will we know if they are going to be safe to eat !!!

    We also find the offer of a 10% reduction in electric bills by Covanta an insult compared to the health of my children and others !

    The residual furnace ash is toxic and will need to be disposed of in a landfill site – where will this be – I hope not on our doorstep ? Does this mean there is going to be a second development of part of Rookery Pit South to become a licensed site for landfill of hazardous waste which will then take in hazardous waste from other locations? Again more emissions and more traffic and more noise !

    Considering it is Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire who are pushing for this disgusting development, why should Stewartby be chosen as the best site for the incinerator – we are in Bedfordshire – put it in their county not ours !!

    If Convanta is looked up on the internet, they have an extremely poor record of Health and Safety, this is a great concern to us.

    Why did Covanta only have public exhibitions in such few villages – considering the emissions will effect people within a 25 mile radius – why not further ones in areas such as Wootton, Cranfield, Kempston, Bedford to name a few ? Many people we have talked to who do live in these areas did not know anything about the proposed incinerator !!

    Hoping you listen to the people of Bedfordshire.

    Julie and Dan

  5. Copy of email sent to Covanta


    Having attended your meeting at Marston Moretaine and read all of your Marketing Material, I have research your proposals and read much of eminent bodies research on the subject of modern Incineration methods. This has made me even more decided that on no account must you be allowed to build this monstrous incinerator here in our lovely countryside, nor anywhere else.

    I find your tactics and marketing ploys very unpleasant. Your information given out to the public very economical with the truth. Despite my questions on the day at the Village Hall, I found the answers given most unsatisfactory, and on further investigation, untrue.

    You are trying to take advantage of our much fought for new A421 road due to be completed later this year. Our roads are already over-subscribed, and with your 900 vehicles per day, we would be worse off than we are now, despite the new road. The smaller roads leading to the site go through part of our village, right past peoples front doors from 5am to 11pm. This would be just a start. We know that ‘special circumstances ‘ will be invoked, enabling the howorking hours to be extended. The so-called low level noise hum, will drive people living withing a 5 mile radius absolutely mad, especially those suffering from tinnitus.

    I will detail below my other reasons for rejecting your proposal, besides the rape and pillage of this beautiful village and countryside:


    According to many papers written on this subject, the dangerous and important ones e.g Dioxins, and NOx etc are much higher on Start-up and close-down than that of monitored levels during normal operations. Also CO2 (from the lorries) will be extremely high because of the drastic increase in traffic.


    Fly-Ash is strongly alkaline and also high in dioxins and heavy metals, and is classed as hazardous waste and it has to be transferred to landfill, which is monstrously dangerous.


    This ash also contains levels of dioxins and metals. Because of their commitment to incineration, the authorities are encouraging the use of bottom ash as construction fill and as an aggregate substitute. But some of this ash spreads around during construction, and the toxins leach into groundwater. During new construction, in decades to come, the metals and dioxins will get into the environment.


    I know these arise in huge numbers from vehicles, most being carbonaceous. But high temperature combustion processes such as incineration generate nano-particles with metallic, dioxin and aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) coatings, which may be much worse for health. The review by several informed bodies is strong evidence, while various research papers are establishing tangible public health impacts

    Incineration relies on exaggeration of future quantities instead of strongly increased recycling and composting.

    Thus Incineration depresses recycling and wastes resources.

    I realise you are aggressively pursuing to develop your incinerators in many parts of the UK and Ireland, but you certainly do not have a concensus of agreement in any of the sites you have thus far tried to get your proposals to succeed, Marston Moretaine and surrounding Villages included. I feel your trying to railroad your proposals through and ignoring the local people and are quite happy to put their health at risk. We are finally getting our clean air back, now that the Brogborough Landfill site, and the Brickworks at Stewartby have closed down, the last thing anybody in this region needs is to regress to foul air and for Bedfordshire to become a ‘dumping ground’ for other peoples waste.

    Heather (Local Resident0

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