News Updates

September 2017

Environment Agency launches 2nd Consultation

MMAG have just had an update from the Environment Agency confirming a new single opportunity for public consultation on the environmental permit for Covanta.  This public consultation will run from 11/09/17 to 23/10/17. Click to View Full Post

April 2017

MMAG Submits Objections to Environment Agency

Please see MMAG’s submission to the Environment Agency in response to the Public Consultation on the Covanta Rookery Pit Incinerator Environmental Permit. Click Here to View Full Post

March 2017

Covanta Environmental Permit Public Consultation open until 18 April

The period for consultation on Covanta’s environmental permit application has now opened and runs until 18 April 2017.

This link allows you to submit your views. MMAG will circulate our comments in due course which you may wish to replicate in your submission. In the meantime you can use the link to read the submissions already made.

Unusual View of Marston Vale – including Rookery Pit 

A long standing supporter of MMAG has been taking an unusual view of the Marston Vale, including Rookery Pit South, the proposed site of Covanta’s incinerator. Why not take a look!

December 2016

Notice of Land Possession around Rookery Pit for works granted by DCO

Following on from the CLP Minutes MMAG was advised that Covanta-Veolia had also issued the following update:

“Covanta and Veolia have today (Monday 31st October 2016) taken the first steps towards implementing the planning consent for Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility.  Covanta has served notices on land owners of plots within the boundary of the Development Consent Order (DCO) planning consent that will enable them to exercise their rights to treat (i.e. negotiate) and to take possession of the land via compulsory purchase – Click Here to View Full Post

October 2016

Community Liasion Panel Update

The Rookery South Community Liaison Panel met again on October 17th.

Click Here to View Full Community Liasion Panel minutes and handouts 17/10/16

3 issues of note were that:

  • Strictly speaking the electricity subsidy scheme of 10% of the average electricity bill in any year payable to households only applies to those households at the time of the S.106 agreement. We have asked for urgent clarification about what subsidy is available to new households, for example those in Marston Park and Moreteyne Farm built since Covanta got planning permission. Also it’s not clear how an average bill will be calculated.
  • The plans for traffic management & enforcement of lorry routes appears to rely on residents bringing violations to the attention of Veolia who will check complaints against the electronic tracking history installed on the lorries. We have asked for a more robust and proactive approach by Veolia where they do the checking and reassure local communities rather than residents having to do the policing.
  • Fluid from the plant should not come into contact at all with the surrounding water table or local drainage – a key issue for the Stewartby Lake users. However it wasn’t clear what mechanism there would be to detect accidental pollution – stuff happens after all. We have asked for a more robust inspection regime that can detect spillage or contamination immediately rather than at some vague point thereafter – if detected at all !

The next meeting will be March 2017. Covanta are expected to do a further leaflet and information event before then.

July 2016

Forest of Marston Vale Trust Position Statement regarding Covanta Incinerator

A recent statement by Chief Executive Nick Webb made on behalf of the Forest of Marston Vale Trust.  Click Here to View Full Post

Community Liaison Panel Meeting 25 July

MMAG attended a meeting of the Community Liaison Panel (CLP) on Monday night, July 25th. The CLP was set up by Covanta to engage with local councils & community groups several years ago & had been in abeyance since 2013. So the meeting was very much resetting the clock and introducing ourselves to the new faces from Covanta & Veolia.

The main points covered were;

The shelf life of the Consent Order – the statutory permission to build the plant is 5 years from 2013 – so work has to begin by end of 2018.

The world has changed since 2013 with:

  • hundreds more residents unaware they were moving into a neighbourhood destined to have a ‘monster’ incinerator next door
  • a large school/college has been built on Green Lanes which was an empty office space when the original consent was granted – obvious concerns about the school being subjected to diesel fumes being belched out from gigantic lorries waiting at the Stewartby level crossing
  • major developments contemplated to the rail infrastructure from East West Rail with Network Rail proposing to replace the Stewartby level crossing with a bridge which would take 9 months to build & involved repositioning the entrance to the Covanta site.

Residents will also have noticed that despite the new roundabout at the Moreteyne Farm estate lorries continue to use the old A421 disregarding the 7.5 tonne limit. Will Covanta lorries do likewise ?

Going forward Veolia will provide the waste and Covanta will burn it and in a change of plan will also recover the metals from the ash. However the waste will be no longer predominately domestic but commercial/industrial waste from ‘anywhere’ it’s economical to transport from.

The next CLP meeting is set for October 17th at the Forest Centre and we will keep posting updates.

Covanta plan to submit the application for an Environment Agency Permit in September on which the public can comment

Covanta Environmental Permit Update 10/07/16

1 .Covanta to attend pre-application meeting with Environment Agency

MMAG understands that Covanta and Veolia are due to met for a pre-application talk with the Environment Agency sometime next week.  This meeting will not include any specifics at this stage and is more of a formality to start off proceedings.

2. Will Brexit Vote affect the Covanta Project?

In discussion with the Environment Agency MMAG understands that whilst the UK remains in the EU as far as the Environmental Permit application – all will proceed as usual.

It is unknown at this time if the current EU directives – particularly the Industrial Emissions Directive will be adopted in full by the UK government following exit from the EU.

Incineration itself is a relatively new technology and the UK have not had to produce laws regarding associated emissions etc as there was not large scale Incinerators in existence prior to the EU taking control of these laws.

MMAG understands that the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will be playing a big part in the exit negotiations and the way forward and it is not in their interests to see standards go backwards.

3. History of Incinerators and Environmental Permits

MMAG queried if any other UK Incinerators had been declined an Environmental Permit.  To the officer’s knowledge none had been declined.  However the point was made by the Environmental officer that Incineration is still fairly new and the numbers involved in the UK is relatively small.

May 2016

Covanata Incinerator Update – 30/05/16

Earlier this month Covanta issued a press release regarding a renewed interest in moving ahead with the Incinerator at Rookery Pit Stewartby in partnership with Veolia.

Supporters will be aware that following a lengthly battle by local groups and residents – Covanta received planning permission in 2013.

MMAG has since gained additional information regarding the current situation.

Covanta – Veolia Partnership

MMAG understands that the partnership between Covanta and Veolia will be – Covanta will construct and operate the Incinerator and Veolia will provide the waste.

Differences in capacity quoted

The original proposal was 585,000 tonnes a year generating 65MW – now Covanta’s website claims 480,000 tonnes a year generating over 50MW

MMAG understands that Covanta may not choose to run the plant at maximum output which is why they are claiming less. Covanta do not want to make any changes to the planned build that will trigger a new planning application. Even if they cannot provide enough waste to hit the maximum allowed by planning – they intend to go ahead with the plans that have been granted in 2013.

Outstanding Questions

It is still not clear where enough waste to run this size Incinerator will actually come from. Recycling targets mean that there is a lot less waste around than 6 years ago – when Covanta originally put forward this proposal.

There is no information regarding what will be happening to both the toxic fly ash and the bottom ash accounting for around 25% of the original mass burned. Will there be an application for a toxic landfill next to the Incinerator in Rookery Pit or will this ash by taken elsewhere?

The Way Forward – What You Can Do

Covanta have yet to apply for and receive an Environmental Permit – which we can fight against on both health and environmental grounds including: emissions ( including Covanta’s poor and ongoing violation record) , toxic fly ash, water contamination, impact on local wildlife, impact on Community Forest, impact on wetlands, traffic issues, localised meteorological changes etc

We need to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of Covanta’s plans by spreading the word and using the updated posters and information flyers found at

– display these posters and encourage others to do so
– talk to your friends and neighbours – who may not be aware
– encourage others to sign up for MMAG updates

As soon as MMAG is aware of an opportunity to write letters etc of objection – we will let you know – what, where, when, how and who.

Covanta and Veolia join forces for the development of the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility

Covanta and Veolia join forces for the development of the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility

12 MAY 2016
Covanta and Veolia are joining forces, under a Project Development Agreement, to develop the Energy Recovery Facility at Rookery South Pit near Stewartby, Bedfordshire, which will create sufficient low carbon energy to power up to 65,000 homes.

When completed, the facility is expected to generate over 50MWe of electricity and will create around three hundred jobs during construction, with 40-50 permanent roles including apprenticeships. It is also designed to be combined heat and power ready to allow for the future development of local district heating.

Approved in 2013 under the Development Consent Order procedures for the delivery of nationally important infrastructure, the facility will be powered via municipal, commercial and industrial residual waste from the surrounding area. The development will also bring a range of local community, employment, infrastructure and environmental benefits through the legal agreements included within the consent for the site.

In the coming months, the project team will work to achieve final approvals and complete project financing. The team will also engage widely with key stakeholders and consultees, including reconvening a community liaison panel, to ensure that the development has minimal impact on the local communities and environment. It is anticipated that construction will commence by late 2017 with the facility becoming operational in 2020.

Welcoming this project development agreement Matthew Mulcahy, Covanta Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Development commented: “We are pleased to have found a partner in Veolia that will help us develop this important growth project. The facility will provide a vital outlet for the sustainable disposal of residual waste and deliver clean, renewable power to the grid. It will also be designed to export steam to support a local district heating system or additional economic development projects.”

Estelle Brachlianoff, Senior Executive Vice-President

“Veolia UK & Ireland added, “This project will contribute to increased landfill diversion and will help the UK meet its carbon reduction commitments. The scheme will also create direct employment and boost the local supply chain as well as helping meet our future energy needs.”

Details of the development, programme and community liaison events will be made available locally.

July 2014

Covanta Gone but Legacy Lingers

Covanta Incinerator environmental permit update email sent to the Covanta Liaison Panel

“On behalf of the Environment Agency – I am writing to let you know that on Thursday 12 June 2014 we received notification from Covanta Rookery South Ltd that they wished to withdraw their application for an energy from waste incinerator at Rookery Pit. This was in response to a letter we sent on Friday 6 June 2014. In this letter we advised Covanta that we were minded to refuse the permit on the grounds of no longer having sufficient information. As a result of the various periods the application has been on hold for, parts of the application are out of date and technical updates would now be required.

The minded to refuse decision was not based on the type of operation proposed at Rookery Pit, rather that Covanta were unable to supply us, at this time, with all the information that we would now need to satisfy us that any impact from the site would be acceptable.

Covanta, or any other operator, would be at liberty to re-apply for a similar operation at the site and we would assess any new application on its own merits and based on the information it contained.

As a result of Covanta withdrawing their application, Ballast Phoenix Ltd have also withdrawn their application for the associated ash handling plant.

Environment Agency, Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Cambridgeshire, PE28 4NE”

August 2013

O&H to apply for waste facility at Rookery South Pit

It appears that 0&H Properties are intending to submit a full planning application to Central Beds Council for a range of integrated waste management facilities at Rookery Pit South including;

  • Non hazardous landfill
  • Hazardous waste landfill cell
  • Construction and demolition waste recycling facility
  • Soil treatment centre
  • Material recovery facility
  • Waste electrical & electronic recycling equipment
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Hazardous waste recycling & bulking

From the initial papers submitted CB/13/02695/SCO this would be in addition to the Covanta proposal. See link

MMAG are analysing the full implications.

May 2013

Covanta’s Waste Plans Go Up In Smoke

As MMAG predicted the economics of the Covanta monster incinerator proposal for Rookery Pit has not added up. With only one customer, Maidenhead and Windsor, for their diabolical scheme and their failure to secure waste management contracts elsewhere across the UK has led to Covanta seeking buyers for its UK operation. Click Here to view Article by Lets Recycle

However, the local community may not yet be rid of a giant incinerator on its doorstep. One of Covanta’s major assets is the Rookery Pit site already designated for waste management and landfill. It also has a development consent order recently approved by Parliament. Other waste management companies may still see the opportunity and enter the game with an identical or similar proposal.

MMAG will remain opposed to any proposal that seeks to process waste from outside our communities at Rookery Pit. Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Councils continue to promote their own locally based waste management solutions.

It is a frightful irony that local opposition identified the financial incompetence of the proposal. However, the now defunct Infrastructure Planning Commission and the parliamentary authorities saw fit to give permission to a company that never had the money to build what they proposed. So much for national experts telling local people what’s good for them!

To paraphrase Churchill, this may not be the beginning of the end for debates about Rookery Pit; but for Covanta it’s the end of their beginning in the UK. Either way it’s a victory for local people and their MP Nadine Dorries.

December 2012

Covanta given go ahead via Special Parliamentary Procedure

It appears that Covanta have received parliamentary approval for the Rookery Pit energy from waste project. We understand the vote was close and won by a margin of five votes to four.

MMAG are currently analysing the decision. There will be a further meeting in Parliament next Wednesday to consider amendments. We have already made statements to the media that our community feels betrayed by the Government, in particular David Cameron the Prime Minister, who gave assurances in the House of Commons to MPs that the views of local people would count. Despite this assurance, the localism agenda has failed to protect our community from Covanta’s monster incinerator.

However, Covanta still do not have any major or local customers. Bedford Borough; Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are all pursuing their own local solutions none of which involve Covanta. So although they may have secured permission to proceed it remains to be seen whether the economics of their proposal will ever add up.

October 2012

Special Parliamentary Joint Committee Meetings

Hearings will run from 9.30 – 11.45 in the morning, and from 1.30 – 4.30 in the afternoon and will be held on each subsequent Wednesday up to the 12th of December, but excluding the 14th of November, until the Committee has heard all of the evidence. Regrettably there will be no opportunity for members of the public to speak.

31st October 

This hearing carried on topics not finished last meeting –  then concentrated on the waste hierarchy –  the amount of waste produced in Central Beds and Bedford and the total potential waste available in surrounding counties. Currently the Covanta proposal does not have defined catchment area. In this meeting the Councils put forward an amendment to the proposal for the committee to put limitations on the size of the catchment area.

The minutes of this meeting are now available at

24th October

This first hearing of the petitioners cases concentrated on waste planning policy and were applicable local planning policy.

The minutes of this meeting are now available at

Visit  for more details.

August 2012

Covanta EA public consultation and public drop in Stewartby 15/08/12

Public Consultation 6th August – 10th September 2012

The Environment Agency’s Public Consultation regarding the Covanta EfW proposal and Ballast Phoenix Ltd Bottom Ash plant proposal is now open from 6th August – 10th September 2012.

Although Covanta’s proposal has already completed public consultation back in Jan 2011 – because the application from Ballast Phoenix Ltd in regard to the proposed Bottom Ash plant at Rookery Pit has only just been submitted – the Environmental Agency is inviting representations regarding both applications.

The Permit number is EPR/LP3236CZ/A001 – which is under the name  Ballast Phoenix Ltd on the EA website but the EA state that “both of these applications will now be considered together as part of our joint determination process.”

Comments to the EA should be based around the following topics:- human health, air, water, land, habitats and species of animals/plants,  noise levels and the energy efficiency of the plant.

Formal comments can be sent to  or in writing to:-

PSC – EP Team
Quadrant 2
99 Parkway Avenue
Sheffield S9 4WF

Visit  for more information.

Public Drop in – Wednesday 15th August 2012

The Environmental Agency is holding a  community drop-in at Stewartby Village Hall for the public to come and find out about their role in the energy from waste (EfW) incinerator facility proposed at Rookery Pit.

The Environment Agency will be asking people for comments on the applications for an environmental permit it has received from Covanta Energy Limited and Ballast Phoenix Limited.

This event is being held at Stewartby Village Hall 3:00pm – 7:30pm.

Please click here to download a copy of the poster advertising the event. Please pass the information around and ask to display in local shops etc  – the more people who turn up and start asking questions the better.

July 2012

Joint Committee for Special Parlimentary Procedure Appointed and Holding Preliminary Meeting

The Joint Committee tasked with considering 5 petitions against the Covanta Order has now been appointed held a preliminary meeting in private at 10.00 on Wednesday 4 July 2012.

The Committee then held a second preliminary hearing on the scope of their consideration of the Rookery South Order at 4pm on Wednesday 11 July 2012 in Committee Room 4A in the House of Lords. They heard representations from the petitioners and the applicant for the order.  A large part of the hearing was open to the public and a transcript produced of that part of the proceedings. Visit to view

The members of the Committee are:-

Member Party
Mr Brian Binley Conservative
Lord Dear Crossbench
Bill Esterson Labour
Lord Faulkner of Worcester Labour
Lord Geddes Conservative
Paul Uppal Conservative

The next meeting has been scheduled for 24th October 2012. For more information visit

May 2012

Outcome of the Special Parliamentary Hearing – Covanta shown another hurdle!

The report is out and first reading suggests the petitions by Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Private Companies have been accepted. Those by the 24 Parish and Town Councils will not be taken forward. The focus of issues remains compulsory purchase. MMAG are studying the report and its implications.

Parliamentary website says:

The First Special Report of the Chairman of Committees, House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means, House of Commons on the Rookery South (Resource Recovery Facility) Order 2011 has been published today.

The purpose of the report is to announce and explain the decisions about which petitions are proper to be received, following the period for petitioning against the Order which closed on 19 December 2011 and the hearing on 8 March 2012.

As well as determining which petitioners are able to appear before a joint committee of the two Houses, the Chairmen’s Report raises two aspects of the statutory framework under which Parliament considers Special Procedure Orders. It calls on the Government to take action to deal with the anomalies in that framework before laying any further such Orders.

The next stage in the process is a 21 day Resolution period. If either the House of Lords or the House of Commons were to resolve to annul the Order during the period ending on 27 May 2012 it would become void and no further proceedings would be taken on it. If no annulment is agreed by either House the Order will proceed to a joint committee of both Houses for consideration. The deadline for the deposit of counter-petitions in the Private Bill Office of either House (in relation to the amendments in petitions 35, 37 and 39) is 5:00pm on 21 May 2012.

First Special Report of the Chairman of Committees, House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means, House of Commons on the Rookery South (Resource Recovery Facility) Order 2011

First Special Report of the Chairman of Committees, House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means, House of Commons on the Rookery South (Resource Recovery Facility) Order 2011 (as a pdf)

March 2012

Parliamentary Hearing – Update

There was a marvellous turn out in Westminster on Thursday, March 8th of local residents, Councillors from across Central Beds and Bedford Borough as well as local MP Nadine Dorries.

In the packed Thatcher Committee Room legal argument sallied back and forth on highly technical points of law and fundamental matters of how people impacted by major infrastructure projects can have their objections heard. The Planning Act 2008, the Statutory Orders Act of 1945 and precedents from 1886, 1922 and 1999 were cited by all parties as to whether those present had an interest in land which was ‘specially and injuriously affected’. Effectively Covanta and the Department for Energy and Climate Change argued local people and their representatives had either no further right to be heard or if they did on very restricted grounds which should not include revisiting the arguments against the Covanta proposal. Sue Clark, Central Bedfordshire Councillor for Marston Ward and on behalf of all 25 Town and Parish Councils gave a very cogent resume of our concerns that the Covanta proposal will blight the Marston Vale and beyond.

Presiding over the proceedings were Lindsay Hoyle MP on behalf of the House of Commons and Lord Brabazon of Tara on behalf of the House of Lords. They will reflect on the arguments and decide shortly.

There is a small chance they will allow us to proceed to the next stage in that there is a democratic deficit, the IPC is being abolished and we will have to live with their only decision. Right at the end WRG (another major waste management company) introduced arguments against Covanta around European Directives and competition law which may lead to further investigation.

For now we must wait and see the relative importance which the parliamentary authorities give to either very arcane points of law or the rights of people to be heard.

February 2012

Covanta Parliamentary Hearing Date set for 08/03/12

The Chairmen’s hearing will take place at 10:15am on Thursday 8 March 2012 in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House. Westminster. At this hearing the Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords and the Chairman of Ways and Means in the House of Commons will consider the 39 petitions and the 78 memorials deposited against those petitions. They will then report to the House of Lords and the House of Commons whether some or all of the petitions should be considered by a Joint Committee appointed for that purpose. The hearing is open to the public. Click Here to View Full Post

Good News as Covanta is not shortlisted to final stage of BEaR Project contract

MMAG welcomes the decision of Central Bedfordshire Council to invite New Earth Solutions-Remondis Consortium and Viridor to enter the final stage of competition to secure the contract to deal with Central Bedfordshire’s future waste. Covanta were in the previous shortlist. Click Here to view Full Post

January 2012

Letter To Prime Minister

David Toland, a MMAG supporter & Parish Councillor has written to the Prime Minister in the following terms. Feel free to copy his example. Click here to view letter.

Covanta plant is source of problems in California

Visit for full article

The dioxin-laced smoke from the fire drifted over the neighborhoods south of the park. Subsequent tests showed alarmingly high levels of dioxins in the eggs and livestock sampled from the neighboring family farms. BEC’s Mary Muchowski says initially DA’s Office links it to Oroville cogeneration plant

Covanta lose yet another contract bid

December 2011

Councils join forces to petition Parliament regarding IPC decision

Earlier this week Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Councils announced that they would be petitioning Parliament regarding the IPC decision to grant planning permission for one the largest Incincerators in Europe to be built at Rookery Pit South to the US company Covanta.

Both Councils have stated that they have put aside a substantial amount of money in order to see the petition through effectively.

Charles Royden Deputy Bedford Mayor – 3 Counties Radio Interview 12/12/11
Central Bedfordshire Councillor Ken Matthews – 3 Counties Radio Interview 13/12/11

For more information regarding the petition process – please click here to view previous post

UKWIN’s End of Year Review

In 2011 MMAG signed up to UKWIN a network of groups fighting incineration as a solution to our waste. Their position is that UKWIN opposes the incineration of household waste, both directly in waste incinerators and indirectly through refuse derived fuels or co-incineration in cement kilns. Click Here to view full post

Related – Minerals and Waste Core Strategy – Consultation on ‘Soundness’ – Closes 29th January

A public consultation on the “soundness” of the Minerals and Waste Core Strategy has opened and will close on 29th January 2012 The document, which will cover the period from 2013 to 2028, is a planning strategy which sets out core policies on which future waste management development and mineral extraction will be assessed. Click Here to view full post

Special Parliamentary Procedure Order Petitions

The Rookery South (Resource Recovery Facility) Order 2011 was laid before both Houses of Parliament on the evening of November 29th. The deadline for petitions will be 5.00 pm on Monday 19 December 2011. Click Here to view full post and guides to petitioning both Houses.

November 2011

MMAG Registers with Parliament

MMAG has registered as an interested party with both the Private Bill Offices of the House of Commons and House of Lords in respect of the application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for the Rookery South (Resource Recovery Facility) Order 2011. MMAG understands that the Order is subject to special parliamentary procedure and will be laid before Parliament in due course in accordance with the provisions of the Statutory Orders(Special Procedure) Acts 1945 and 1965. Please Click to view Full Post

MMAG Remarks to Beds Councils Planning Consortium 10/11/11

Please Click Here to view a copy of the speech made by Hugh Roberts Chair of Marston Moreteyne Action Group at  the Bedfordshire Councils Planning Consortium Meeting on 10th November 2011.

October 2011

Nadine Dorries puts Covanta Question to David Cameron

Nadine Dorries MP put the following question to David Cameron at Prime Ministers Questions today (26/10/11): “The Infrastructure Planning Commission has made one decision—to grant planning permission for the giant American waste company Covanta to build a 600,000 tonne incinerator in Mid Bedfordshire. Thousands of people in Bedfordshire responded to the consultation, saying that they do not want this. View Full Post

Covanta pull out of Wales EfW Plant Application

Covanta have withdrawn their application to the IPC for their Energy from Waste Plant in Wales. The implications are being studied.

Further details available on:-

Reaction of Local Residents to the IPC’s Decision

IPC Decision – Special Parliamentary Procedure ref

Eagle eyed MMAG supporters will have noticed the curious reference to ‘special parliamentary procedure’ which appears on page 128 of the IPC Covanta decision document (at the top of the page in italics ) just below Appendix D – the Development Consent Order. This could prove to be a significant issue or a false hope. View Full Post

CPREs Reaction to IPC Decision

The IPC (Infrastructure Planning Commission) has decided in favour of the Covanta incinerator proposal in the Marston Vale. CPRE and other local campaign groups as well as both Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Council are deeply disappointed. You can read the reasons for the IPC’s decision here – View Full Post

IPC Process – Residents Comments

Central Beds Council are requesting their legal advisors examine the IPC process with a fine toothcomb for a possible non adherence to the process, in order that they can instigate a judicial review. If  you felt that the IPC were obstructive or that the process failed in some way. Please email your comments to

If you would like MMAG to keep a record of your comments – please add them to the IPC Process Comments Page.  Your email details will not be shown and if you wish you could mark your comments as ‘Local Resident’ if you do not want your name published.

Breaking News 13/10/11 – IPC Approve Covanta Incinerator

Clearly everyone who fought the Covanta proposal will be deeply disappointed and angry to learn that despite overwhelming local and national opposition the IPC have imposed the monster incinerator on the Marston Vale.

MMAG and others are studying the IPC decision:

MMAG initial response is that the IPC consent came with conditions which we will ensure are met. Of course the Environment Agency are yet to give its approval and to date Covanta have no significant customers so the economics of the incinerator still don’t stack up.

The fight goes on and a more comprehensive statement will be made in due course.

Hugh Roberts – Chair MMAG

August 2011

Incineration Tax Petition

From the UKWIN Co-ordinator – The UK government has started an E-petition system for the public to get stuff discussed in our parliament. Keith Kondakor has started a petition on the system to get an incineration tax at half the rate of the landfill tax (i.e. £40 per tonne, which will be £80/tonne in 2014). This simple measure would make incinerators even less competitive when compared with reuse, recycling composting etc.

We know it would be very hard to get the required 100,000 votes, and we accept that views differ regarding the correct rate of the tax (and the basis for setting that rate), but just getting the principal of a tax will be a big step forward. Please visit:  sign the petition, and ask others to do the same!

Reports from visit to Tilbury Docks Bottom Ash Reprocessing Facility run by Ballast Phoenix

A group from the Community Liason Panel visited the Ballast Phoenix Bottom Ash Reprocessing Centre at Tilbury Docks in June: Members of the group reported back – Please Click Here to view full post

July 2011

Designation of National Policy Statements for Energy Infrastructure

On 19th July 2011 Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change designated the National Policy Statements (NPSs) under the Planning Act 2008. This follows a House of Commons debate on 18th July 2011 approving the six NPSs. The energy NPSs set out national policy against which proposals for major energy projects will be assessed and decided on by the Infrastructure Planning Commission. Click Here to view full post
MMAG Summer Update from Chair
MMAG Chairman, Hugh Roberts, makes submission to the IPC at the 5 July Open Floor Hearing

Hugh Roberts MMAG Chair (Audio) 

Hugh Roberts MMAG Chair (Notes)

June 2011

Article on Marston Vale by Professor Andrew Blowers

Last year Professor Blowers  led a visit to the Marston Vale by a party from the Eastern Region  of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Please Click Here to view write up and photos

Professor Blowers has since published an article on the Marston Vale which includes a number of the issues raised during that visit.  It is titled ‘Slough of Despond or House Beautiful’ and was published in Town and Country Planning. Please Click Here to View

Milton Keynes approach to waste management rules out mass burn incineration contractsPlease see the article from Lets Recycle – click here to view. The Council has given companies “one month to express an interest in the contract, with Milton Keynes stressing that consideration will be given to projects which propose the supply of additional resources, such as heat and electricity. It has stated it will not consider ‘mass burn incineration’.

IPC Open Floor Hearings – UpdateThe IPC have now issued guidance regarding the Open Floor Hearings dates and locations as below:

Tuesday 5th July 10:00 – 16:00  Forest Centre, Marston Moreteyne

Tuesday 5th July 19:00 – 22:00 Forest Centre, Marston Moreteyne

Wednesday 6th July 14:00 – 16:30 Forest Centre, Marston Moreteyne

Wednesday 6th July 19:00 – 22:00 Village Hall, Stewartby

The IPC have stated that places will be allocated and reserved for those people who have registered to attend or speak by 24th June 2011 at

Any places available following the registration process will be allocated on a first come first served basis with priority given to parties who have previously registered with the IPC in Oct/Nov 2010.

Please Click Here for IPC Guidance Notes and Covering Letter 7th June

May 2011

Video clip campaigning for less rubbishReceived via the UKWIN anti incineration body:We’ve launched a new two-minute film – telling the love story of two plastic milk bottles – to spread the word about our campaign for half as much rubbish. Click Here to view Full Post

Does a Deal with Covanta Stick?

Our Marston Vale – our sister campaign group have passed on recent news on activities in the US. It is starting to look like Covanta renegotiate agreements with reports from the recent IPC meeting where Covanta wish to now extend the ‘catchment area’ for waste and not be restricted within even the bounds of their own application. Moving goalposts? Click Here to View Full Post

Publication of Dr Mike Weightman’s interim report on ‘lessons learnt’ from Fukushima for UK nuclear industry

We must not forget that our campaign against the Covanta incinerator takes place against a backdrop of the UK ‘greening’ its future energy supplies of which renewable energy and nuclear power is a part of the Governments energy infrastructure plan. The Covanta proposal is a power station and we need to be mindful that events in Japan may set back plans for nuclear power and that in desperation there is a ‘dash’ for energy from waste and piped or liquefied gas. Click Here to View Full Post

Covanta Flood Risk Assessment Addendum

Eagle eyed observers of the IPC process have spotted a change to Covanta Flood Risk Assessment – Please Click Here to view. It is now proposed that domestic and process foul water will be treated on site and discharged via the surface water drainage system into Mill Brook and Stewartby Lake – and not via the Stewartby Treatment Works. Click Here to View Full Post

MMAG applauds IPC decision to hold special hearings on waste,noise,landscape and heritage

The IPC have decided to hold special hearings (‘issue specific’) on particular issues ‘as follows:

Monday 13 June 2011 Drafting aspects of the draft Development Consent Order and requirements, and the proposed s106 agreement between the applicant and the local planning authorities.

Friday (am) 17 June 2011 The effect of the proposed development on the waste hierarchy.

Friday (pm) 17 June 2011 The noise impact of early morning operations on the living conditions of residents (including campers at the Stewartby Water Sports Club) living near to the access routes proposed for HGVs between the A421 and the site.

Tuesday 21 June 2011 Landscape, visual impact and design matters, including specifically whether the viewpoints considered in the Environmental Statement are representative and the identification of any additional viewpoints that interested parties want the IPC to include in their site visit.

Wednesday 22 June 2011 The impact of the development on the setting of heritage assets.

All hearings will be held at the Park Inn Hotel, St Mary’s Street, Bedford MK42 0AR, commencing at 10.00am, with the exception of the hearing on the afternoon of 17 June which will commence at 2.00pm.

There will still be a further opportunity to speak and put your case to the IPC at one of the open floor sessions to be held at the Forest Centre, Marston Moretaine on 5 July between 10.00am and 4.00pm, and between 7.00pm and 10.00pm, on 6 July (also at the Forest Centre) between 2.00pm and 4.30pm, and at the Village Centre, Stewartby on 6 July between 7.00pm and 10.00pm.

Please Click Here to view the full letter from the IPC to interested parties.

MMAG welcomes this opportunity for further and more detailed consideration and encourages everyone to take up the opportunity

MMAG interviewed by BBC 3 Counties Radio – May 13th

In an interview with BBC 3 Counties radio MMAG emphasised that as the IPC meets on May 13th, there remains little common ground on much of the evidence before it, residents remain implacably opposed, building a 700,000 tonnes a year incinerator is at odds with the Governments ‘zero waste’ strategy to be announced next month and that already surrounded by million of tonnes of landfilled waste we have no wish to stop being the dustbin of eastern england and start becoming the ashcan.

Sunday Express 01/05/2011

AN INVESTIGATION is to be launched into incinerators after claims they are linked to cancer and high death rates among babies and children.

Read more:

March 2011

Breaking News: PM says local views must be taken account of

The Prime Minister has once again reiterated that local concerns must be taken account when communities are faced with incinerator proposals.

During PMQ’s on March 30th Fiona Bruce MP for Congleton asked the Prime Minister whether local views should be of paramount concern and specifically referred to the plans for an incinerator at Middlewich, capable of burning 370,000 tonnes of waste a year, which were unanimously rejected by Cheshire East Council and is now the subject of an appeal. The appellant is Covanta.

The local council and the Cheshire Anti-Incinerator Network (ChAIN) are vociferously fighting the plans and MMAG fully support them.

MMAG attends Energyscapes and Ecosystem Services Workshop

MMAG participated in this workshop on a 12-month research project called “Energyscapes and Ecosystem Services” –Click Here to View Full Post

Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council submit Formal Objections to IPC

Central Bedfordshire Council has written to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to formally oppose Covanta Energy’s plans for a Resource Recovery Facility at Rookery South Pit near Stewartby. Click Here to view full post
MMAG visit new EfW plant in London

A MMAG volunteer has attended a Covanta organised visit to an EfW plant near Heathrow.  Click Here to view full post.

Submissions to IPC – updated

Please click here to view submissions on behalf of 24 signatories of Parish and Town Councils, Friends of the Earth and local residents detailed submissions to the IPC

Minister urged to exercise his powers

Greg Clarke MP, Minister for Decentralization in the Department for Communities & Local Government was urged by a deputation lead by Nadine Dorries MP to exercise his powers under the Planning Act 2008 to take the final decison rather than the IPC over whether the Covanta application should go ahead in Rookery Pit South. Click Here to read full post.

February 2011

Meeting with the Minister – Breaking News

MMAG will be part of a deputation lead by Nadine Dorries MP to meet Greg Clark MP, the Minister of State at the Department for Communities & Local Government on Monday night, February 28th in Westminster. Click Here to read full post.

MMAG Submission to the IPC

MMAG have submitted their detailed document of objection regarding the Covanta proposal to the IPC.

Nadine speaks with her characteristic passion on IPC!

In a Westminster Hall debate on February 16th, Nadine Dorries MP spoke about the IPC and the Hansard record of the debate is as follows:

Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire) (Con): It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair again, Mr Gale. The Infrastructure Planning Commission is examining an application from an American waste company by the name of Covanta to build an incinerator masquerading as an energy-from-waste plant in my constituency. Click Here to view full post.

Breaking News : Nadine – Wide Eyed and Localist

Nadine Dorries MP has posted an encouraging report on her blog this week. “Yesterday, I had an excellent one to one meeting with the Prime Minister. It came with coffee. The code is no coffee means bad news……” Click Here to view full post.

IPC Deadline  – make sure you have your say !

Everyone who has registered with the IPC will have had a Notice of Procedural Decision and Timetable. A key date is February 28th 2011 which is the first deadline for written representations about the Covanta application. Click Here to view full post

Report of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee

The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee have published their report into the six revised energy National Policy Statements. The committee has made 18 recommendations the more important of which is about the timing of the NPSs. Click Here to view full post.

Campaigners welcome the IPC!

On Friday morning 4 February, a vocal crowd braved gale force winds  to welcome two of the IPC Commissioners to Rookery Pit South. The crowd were warmed up by strongly encouraging addresses by Hugh Roberts Chair MMAG; Nadine Dorries MP ; Councillors Alan Bastable and Tim Hill; Bedford Borough Deputy Mayor Charles Royden and Mayoral candidate John Guthrie. Click Here to view full post

Prime Minister’s Questions 2nd February 2011

Nadine Dorries MP raised the IPC and Covanta at Prime Ministers Questions on February 2nd, 2011 and mentioned the welcome MMAG and others are preparing for the IPC. Click Here to view full post.

January 2011

People Power to Welcome IPC visit to Rookery Pit South

Press Release – MMAG and its sister action groups have organised a demonstration to coincide with the visit of the Infrastructure Planning Committee (IPC) commissioners, Covanta and elected Councillors to Rookery Pit South.  The demonstration on Friday 4 February at 10.30 a.m. will be addressed by Nadine Dorries MP and other local politicians and influencers are likely to attend. Click Here to view full post.

The Media – Some Handy ‘X factor’ Tips for Demo Day – February 4th

At the demo on February 4th, we will be approached by reporters from TV and the Press and below are some anticipated Questions and Answers that MMAG supporters may want to use. Remember that everything is heavily edited into a few seconds so its important to make our points succinctly – that’s why politicians use sound bites. Click Here to view full post.

MMAG submits its report to the Environmental Agency

MMAG supporter, Michael Green has submitted a report  in response to the Environmental Agency’s examination of the Covanta proposal. Click Here to view full post.

Breaking News-First application in Wales to proceed to IPC examination

The Infrastructure Planning Commission has accepted for examination an application for a proposed energy-from-waste power station to be located at Cwmbargoed near Merthyr Tydfil, in Wales. Further details to follow but appears that Covanta now have 2 applications before the IPC ; ourselves and Wale

OMV respond to IPC questions

Our Marston Vale – a sister campaign group have published a response to
questions put by the IPC. Click Here to view full post

ADAG comments re EA consultation

Click Here to view full post

Public Notice of Demonstration

MMAG confirms demonstration and attendance of Nadine Dorries MP with
Bedfordshire Police. Click Here to view full post.

MMAG and ‘Our Marston Vale’ Demonstration 04/02/11 and other dates for the diary
Friday 4th February – The IPC will be visiting Rookery Pit with representatives of Covanta and local Councils. MMAG and Our Marston Vale are organising a demonstration at the entrance to the site to provide a warm welcome to the three IPC Commissioners. Click Here to view full post

Comment on Environmental Agency Consultation by 03/02/11

Approval for the Covanta Incinerator has to be given by both the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) & the Environment Agency (EA). The  IPC approves the building of the plant but the EA approves its operation  through granting an environmental permit under the Environmental Permitting  (England and Wales) Regulations 2010

The original closing date for comments was 27 January 2011 but this has now been extended until 03 February 2011 ! So much for consultation as this will  prove a very challenging timetable for most Parish Councils who meet monthly. So this is where you can make a difference ! Click to read full post

MMAG report on IPC Preliminary Meeting – January 17th 2011

MMAG supporters attended the IPC preliminary meeting with the IPC along with representatives of parishes and town councils, local authorities, community/leisure/environment groups and concerned residents. The IPC will produce a report and this will be available on their website. Click Here to view full report

MMAG supporter attacks vile object !

Richard Gillard, a staunch supporter of our anti Covanta campaign has written today to Beds on Sunday – we feel it deserves reproduction in full. Click Here to view full post.

Fire burns in storage pit at Tulsa’s trash-to-energy plant

Smoke billows from Tulsa’s trash-to-energy plant on Tuesday evening. Click Here to view full post.

December 2010

Breaking News – IPC announce date for Preliminary Meeting

IPC announce the Preliminary Meeting will take place on 17 January 2011 at 10.00 in the Park Inn Hotel, St Mary’s Street, Bedford, MK42 0AR. Further details in attachments and MMAG comment to follow in due course.

Notification of the appointment of the Examining Authority

Notification of the preliminary meeting and availability of representations

Preliminary meeting FAQ

Bucks names WRG preferred bidder in EfW deal U-turn

The Northampton-based waste management firm WRG was officially named as the preferred bidder at a meeting of Buckinghamshire council’s cabinet on November 29), which could see WRG develop a 300,000 tonnes-a-year capacity plant at its Calvert landfill site in the north of the county. Click Here to view full Post

IPC publish initial Covanta representations

The IPC website has now published the representations that it received . Some patience is required as the page takes a little time to load the text of all 1004 representations.

The IPC has received representations from local authorities (8), parish councils (29), other statutory consultees (12), non-statutory organisations (29) and ‘public and business’ (925).

The IPC says that it has removed representations that are vexatious, frivolous or offensive and we estimate the IPC judged 22 to fall into this category. Please Click Here to view Full Post

November 2010

Central Bedfordshire Council Questions Covanta Proposal

Nadine Dorries MP queries continuing the IPC registration process in the House of Commons

On Thursday November 4th Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during question time in the House of Commons to halt the registration process for this project, being promoted by Covanta Energy in her constituency. Her question referred to potential objectors having to read a ‘7000 page document’ and that there are irregularities in the online registration process. She followed by writing a letter to the Secretary of State and various ministers urging them to stop the IPC online registration process as follows. Please Click Here to read full post – Hansard extract and Letter

IPC Registration Problems

Let us know if you have experienced any IPC registration problems by completing the poll below.

October 2010

Public Meeting 30th October 2010 including presentation by Professor Connett

As reported by BBC Look East, hundreds of people packed out the Rufus Centre for a meeting with Professor Connett, a leading expert on waste, dioxins and sustainable alternatives to landfill and incineration [Click Here to view CV]. Here as a guest of Cynthia Bagchi, the meeting on Saturday 30th October  was one of  series around the country.  The meeting was introduced by Hugh Roberts, Chair of MMAG and then chaired by Nadine Dorries, Mid Beds MP. Click Here to view full page – including downloads of the powerpoint presentation, photos and a link to videos of a similar presentation by Professor Connett earlier this year.

IPC Drop in Sessions

The IPC have announced 2 further drop in sessions for Tuesday 9th November at:-

12:00 noon-2:00pm  –  Stewartby Village Hall

4:00pm -6:00pm –  The Forest Centre (The Sollars Study room) Marston Moreteyne

At these sessions, representatives of the IPC will be available to explain the process to people on how to register and make representations to the IPC, and the opportunities for involvement in the examination process.  Planning Aid representatives will also be available to provide assistance to anyone who needs support in completing the registration process and making their representation.

Please note that the IPC will not be able to discuss the merits of the proposal at the drop-ins, as these are matters that need to be dealt with during the formal examination process.

Letter from IPC Poster from IPC

Ampthill Development Action Group Register Covanta Objection

The recently formed Ampthill Development Action Group  (ADAG) has registered with the IPC objecting to the proposed development.
ADAG has been formed to oppose inappropriate and environmentally damaging development in the vicinity of Ampthill. Click Here to view full post

MMAG Registers with the IPC

MMAG has now formally registered with the IPC and strongly encourages all concerned residents and groups to do the same.  Click Here to View MMAG’s registered statement.

Joint Parish and Town Councils IPC Submission

You may recall a group of Town and Parish Councils and MMAG agreed to explore the possibility of submitting a joint response to the Covanta planning application. This would be in addition to any individual response each Council wishes to make, and demonstrate coordinated action.

Please Click Here to view.

Councils have been asked to confirm whether they wishes to be a joint signatory, by MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15th, to the Clerk, at Cranfield Parish Council:

On account of the IPC 500 word limit the response has to be quite general but is written in such a way to allow the opportunity to give more evidence in detail, on all the topics listed, at the next stage in the IPC examination.

MMAG very much hopes Councils will support this – and hats of to Sue Clark, Cranfield Parish Council, Ian Pickering, Aspley Guise Parish Council and Jo Green, Brogborough Parish Council.

Register with the IPC to have your say now
Registration with the IPC to enable you to have your say regarding the Covanta Proposal is now open until 19th November.  Please note if you do not register as an interested party before the deadline – you maynot be able to make any further representations to the IPC at a future date.

During this registration stage you will be asked for brief comments –  at a later stage you will be given the opportunity to provide a more detailed written account of your views

Please Click Here for more Information
MMAG, Town and Parish Councils believe it is vital that everyone registers. If you don’t register then you will not be able afterwards to make your views heard.

Public Meeting re Covanta 30th October 2010 including talk by Prof Connett

Following on from the successful meeting at the Forest Centre in September- Nadine Dorries MP is inviting residents and those interested in opposing the Covanta Proposal to attend a meeting a the Rufus Centre in Flitwick on Saturday 30th October at 10:30am.

Professor Dr Paul Connett who has researched waste management for 14 years will be attending the meeting. Please Click Here for full details.

Related News – BEaR Project Update – Oct 2010

Please Click Here to view the latest BEaR update – Companies selected for next stage of BEaR Project

Covanta sued again for dioxin pollution in the US

Please Click Here to view article published on the UK Win website

September 2010

Related News – BEaR Newsletter – September 2010

Standing Room only at the Forest Centre Protest Meeting

It was standing room only at the Forest Centre on Saturday September 25th to hear Nadine Dorries MP rallying hundreds of concerned citizens to ‘do their bit’ and support MMAG’s campaign to fight of the Covanta plans for a monster incinerator in Rookery Pit, Bedfordshire. Click Here to view full Post.

Register with the IPC to have your say – New Date Announced

UPDATE! Covanta have confirmed that registration with the IPC to have your say is due to commence on 7th October and run for 6 weeks until 19th November. Please visit the IPC website at to register. For more information regarding what you can say at registration – please Click Here.

Register with the IPC to have your say – UPDATE

The IPC website; did state a date from which people can register to have their say of Wednesday 29th September 2010.

However – today (28/09/10) we have learnt from Whitehall sources that there may be a delay in the start of the registration process. The date has mysteriously disappeared from the IPC website. Please keep checking with us here and we will publish the date as soon as it is known.

Once registration is finally up and running – MMAG, Town and Parish Councils believe it is vital that everyone registers. If you don’t register then you will not be able afterwards to make your views heard.

MMAG are supporting the Parish/Town Council initiative on mass registration.

The Marston Vale Trust clarifies its position on Covanta

Please Click Here to visit The Marston Vale Trust’s website where they have finally published the position they are taking regarding the Covanta Proposal.

MMAG in support of Initiative by Parish/Town Councils to form joint response to Covanta

MMAG were delighted to attend an exploratory meeting on September 7th in the Sports Pavillion Marston Moreteyne of concerned Town and Parish Councils keen to compile a joint response in opposition to the Covanta Planning application. Click Here to view full post.

IPC to publish Covanta application and invite comments from the public

The paperwork for the Covanta proposal at Rookery South, Bedfordshire was accepted by the IPC on August 26th and will now proceed to the examination stage. The IPC is expected to publish all application documents and details of how and when to register to have your say on this proposal on the IPC website: ( ) shortly. The IPC are unable to accept comments until registration has opened. Click Here to view full post.

August 2010

MP announces meeting for those opposed to Covanta

Local MP, Nadine Dorries, announces a meeting for all those opposed to Covanta plans for a giant regional incinerator in Rookery Pit South.

Saturday 25th September – 10.30am -12.30am – The Forest Centre, Marston Vale

Further details will appear here in due course.

MMAG submits its Local Impact Report Regarding Covanta

Please Click Here to read MMAG’s submission to Susan Marsh – Principal Minerals & Waste Planning Officer Shared Service for Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils for the Local Impact Report re Covanta’s Energy for Waste Incinerator Proposal (Rookery Pit South)

Related News – BEaR Update – Central Beds Council support improvements to green services

Click Here to read the latest news release relating to the BEaR Project. It will be interesting to see whether Covanta are able to meet the revised requirements to include additional services as part of its waste tender. Bidders competing for the main waste treatment contract will be required to put forward proposals for the following additional services:

  • Re-develop the Household Waste Recycling Centres at Ampthill, Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard and re-locate the Dunstable site
  • Provide gritting salt storage barns in strategic locations
  • Provide a Waste Transfer Station so that various types of waste can be bulked up before being sent for treatment
  • Provide for the treatment of organic waste in their main proposal

MMAG welcomes this emphasis on recycling which hopefully will produce a truly local solution.

Covanta responds to MMAG re Preliminary Environmental Report

Covanta have responded to MMAG comments (March 30th 2010) on the Preliminary Environmental Report.

At long last MMAG have received the responses  from Covanta to MMAG’s (originally submitted on March 30th 2010) comments on the Preliminary Environmental Report (PER) [Click Here to view] and a Note on Environmental Compliance [Click Here to view]

The PER should not be confused with the Local Impact Report (LIR) but since it covers the same ground will hopefully inform responses that people will be making to the LIR – confused – don’t worry MMAG aren’t !

Local Impact Report – Bedford Borough & Central Beds Councils Consultation re Covanta

Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council will be formally consulted by the IPC when it considers the Covanta proposal.

As part of the new procedures for dealing with major applications submitted to the IPC (or successor determining authority) there is a requirement on the local authority to produce what is known as a ‘Local Impact Report’ – or LIR. The site of the proposed Covanta scheme lies mainly within Central Bedfordshire but parts, in particular the access road, lie within Bedford Borough Council area. Therefore both authorities are tasked with preparing an LIR and this will be co-ordinated by the Minerals and Waste Planning Team (hosted by Central Bedfordshire) which provides a shared service to both authorities.

The LIR is a Report giving details of the likely impact of the proposed development on the authority’s area and is prepared whether or not the local authority considers that the development would have a positive or negative effect on their area. It is intended to be a statement of the positive, negative and neutral local impacts and may provide an indication of the relative importance of different social, environmental or economic issues and the impact of the scheme on them. For example the relative importance of additional jobs created by the proposal against an increase in the level of traffic movements in the local area.

MMAG and supporters in the community are well placed to help make a contribution to the LIR. It is important that your responses are not simply ‘I object’ but, instead, attempt to set out those issues that are of particular relevance to the local area – whether positive or negative. A list of possible topic areas to cover are available on the full post here

However, it is likely that the LIR will have to be completed within a six week period at the start of August – so we need to be quick !

This is our opportunity to put forward our views on the local impact of the proposal.

Comments to :

Susan Marsh
Principal Minerals & Waste Planning Officer
Shared Service for Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
Shefford SG17 5TG

Click Here to read full post with list of possible topic areas to cover

Related News – The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launches a review of review of waste policies

Opening a call for evidence, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman called on businesses, households, communities, and local authorities in England to contribute their views.

The review will look at what policies are needed to reduce the amount of waste generated and to maximise reuse and recycling, while also considering how waste policies affect local communities, individual households and businesses.

MMAG will contribute to the Review. MMAG supporters can also contribute to the review through the Defra website,
Click Here to view full post

July 2010

MMAG queries IPC role

Sir Michael Pitt – Chair – Infrastructure Planning Commission

July 28th 2010

Dear Sir Michael,

Covanta Energy from Waste Proposal – Rookery South Pit, Bedfordshire

We are writing on behalf of the Marston Moreteyne Action Group MMAG who are already registered as stakeholders in regard to this proposal. MMAG are a group of volunteers committed to sustainable development within and around the Parish of Marston Moreteyne and as such are opposed to the Covanta EfW proposal. We believe that Covanta may have registered their application on July 26th for initial evaluation and that if accepted will be  published by the IPC in early August with a view then to formal examination and receipt of representations. When asked to do so, Covanta declined to provide an advance copy of the application to members of the Community Liaison Panel established by Covanta for the purposes of community engagement!

We believe it would be inappropriate, perverse and an affront to democracy for the IPC to proceed with this application for the following reasons and ultimately may give grounds for judicial review: Click Here to view full letter

Progress of the Energy National Policy Statements – IPC Increasingly Irrelevant

On July 15th the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced a further consultation on the Energy National Policy Statements.

Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy said: “For large energy projects we need to give industry maximum certainty, so that if sound proposals come forward, they will not fall victim to unnecessary hold-ups. We have decided to take a further look at the Appraisal of Sustainability of our draft Energy Policy Statements to make sure that they are fit for purpose. Taking this decision now is essential to safeguard our long-term goal of a sustainable and secure energy supply”. Click Here to view full post

MMAG invited to show Professor Andrew Blowers OBE, FRSA around the Vale

MMAG is immensely proud to have been invited to take Professor Blowers and a number of of his Royal Society of Arts colleagues on a bus tour throughout the Vale to outline matters of local interest on July 17th. Click Here to view full post

Mayor of Bedford demands local decision on Covanta

Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson has written to Eric Pickles MP,Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, regarding the Infrastructure Planning Commission. Click Here to view full post

Related News – MMAG Comments on Draft Waste Core Strategy
MMAG comments on the draft waste core strategy and it’s impact on Marston Moreteyne and the wider Marston Vale. Click Here to view full post

Nadine Dorries MP to host meeting for groups against Covanta in September

Nadine Dorries MP has just advised MMAG that she will be hosting a meeting in early September to bring together all those campaigning against Covanta and to encourage meaningful debate about how we can best influence the shape of solutions to dealing with Bedfordshire waste. We need to help the Bear Project produce the best solution for local people: our waste, our Project and our solution. Click Here to read full post

June 2010

Question re Covanta raised by Nadine Dorries MP at Prime Ministers Question Time
Our local MP Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire) has raised a question on Wednesday 30th June during Prime Ministers questions as follows: Click Here to see full post

Related News – Waste Core Strategy Preferred Options Consultation

Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough are consulting on a joint waste core strategy. This sets out how waste might be managed over the next 15 years.

Exhibitions have already been held in Dunstable, June 8th and Elstow, June 16th (MMAG attended this one ). There is another planned for June 24th in Stewartby Village Hall from 3:30pm until 8pm. Click Here to view full post

IPC issues statement regarding the future of applications currently on programme

Despite plans to abolish the Labour appointed quango the Infrastructure Planning Commission – a recent statement from IPC’s Chair claims that all projects currently on programme (which includes Rookery Pit South) will continue though the IPC process. Click Here to read full post.

May 2010

MMAG writes to PM regarding the future of IPC

MMAG writes to new Prime Minister as IPC confirmed for abolition- but replacement with a similar body to fast track large the planning applications. Please Click Here to view our letter.

MMAG  hosts Open Day 22/05/10

MMAG hosted an Open Day on Saturday 22nd May 10am to 2pm where representatives of MMAG were available in the Methodist Hall to discuss local issues.  There was several displays and a number of handouts available – Click Here to view more details.
Click Here to view the Displays.
Click Here to download the Handouts

MMAG contacts new Government over future of the IPC and Covanta

Chris Huhne, Secretary of State
Department of Energy & Climate Change

Congratulations on your new appointment.

I am writing on behalf of the Marston Moreteyne Action Group, MMAG, a group of volunteers dedicated to sustainable communities and campaigning actively against plans by Covanta to build an enormous Energy from Waste plant in Rookery South Pit, Bedfordshire.

Covanta intend to submit an application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission at the end of July 2010. Click Here to read full press release

Aspley Guise join growing opposition to Covanta plans

Click Here to view letter sent by Aspley Guise Parish Council to the IPC
(copied to Covanta)

Covanta on the Run Claim MMAG – Press Release

Covanta have been forced to put back to mid July its application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) for a giant incinerator in Rookery Pit South Bedfordshire following the:

• local NHS Primary Care Trust seeking further detail about the health impacts from noise, traffic and the anxiety to residents of living near an incinerator and

• huge volume of objections from concerned residents. Click Here to read full Press Release

Cheshire East Council refuses Covanta Energy from Waste proposal

Cheshire East Council has rejected a proposal by American-owned company Covanta Energy to develop a 370,000 tonnes-a-year capacity energy-from-waste facility at Middlewich over concerns about overcapacity in the region. Click Here to view full Article

Councils asked to think twice! – Press Release

MMAG has contacted all local authorities who have been targeted to send their waste to Bedfordshire asking that they spurn advances from Covanta who are desperate to secure contracts for its proposed incinerator in the Marston Vale. Click Here to read full Press Release.

Restrictive Covenant on Rookery Pit

Recent confusion over whether there are any legal problems relating to the Rookery Pit South site have become clearer with the publication of a Central Bedfordshire document Bedfordshire Energy and Recycling Project – Outline Business Case Background Report Appendix One. Click Here to read more.

Covanta delays application to IPC until at least mid-July 2010

Covanta have told a meeting of the Community Liaison Panel that they are unlikely now to submit their application to the Infrastructure Planning Committee before mid July 2010.

At this stage we can only speculate as to the reasons why Covanta have decided to put back their application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) till mid July this year. However at the Community Liaison Panel reference was made to (1) the local NHS Primary Care Trust seeking further detail about the health impacts from noise, traffic and the anxiety of living near an incinerator, (2) unfinished discussions about the emergency site access sought by the Fire Brigade – on Station Lane between Pillinge South Farm and Millbrook, (3) the fact the IPC did not provide a complete list of those it would expect Covanta to consult with – since amended and (4) the large number of responses from the public, campaign groups and public bodies to which they are replying. The IPC expects a lot of these discussions with statutory bodies to take place before any application is sent in.Another important factor is that the policy planning statements on energy infrastructure and renewable energy remain in draft form. These documents are key to how the IPC should assess the Covanta application. The Department for Energy & Climate Change were due, following consideration of responses from interested parties (of which MMAG is one) to table for parliamentary approval a revised set of statements in mid summer. Where these now sit – and indeed the future of the IPC may depend on the outcome of the General Election. Strictly speaking in the absence of the IPC or any statements – Covanta could continue with their application under the Electricity Act – effectively the old planning process – in which case the Secretary of State would make a decision.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that Covanta are seeking permission for an energy from waste plant and the IPC will also be assessing what contribution in terms of ‘green’ electricity the Covanta plant makes and whether net carbon savings are achieved by avoiding landfill as well as the environmental impact of an incinerator which we believe is vile.

This does have an effect on the timetable. If submitted in mid July the IPC (if still in existence), would have one month to decide whether to begin consideration of the application. Thereafter a 6 month period of consultation and examination would take place – August – January 2011 after which the IPC has 3 months to make its mind up – January – March. Within weeks of the decision there is the opportunity to seek judicial review.

During this period there could be other applications by competitors of Covanta to process waste for energy nearby or elsewhere.

During the CLP I raised the issue of whether Covanta would compensate residents for effects on property prices – aware of reports that house sales have fallen through when prospective purchasers get wind of an incinerator in the offing. Covanta said they would not. Nevertheless its important that we are aware of any adverse impact Covanta is having on property values and sales – so confidentiality absolutely assured – please keep us posted.

We are hosting an MMAG Open Day on Saturday, May 22nd 10am to 2pm where representatives of MMAG will be available in the Methodist Hall (by the Doctors). Please come and say hello and discuss local issues relating to incineration, landfill, housing and wind turbines!

Hugh Roberts – Chair MMAG

April 2010

Nadine Dorries MP- 10 minute bill “Waste Recovery and Disposal Facilities (Public Consultation)”is heard in Parliament

The following is an excerpt from Hansard – Today in the Commons 06/04/104.18 pm

Nadine Dorries (Mid-Bedfordshire) (Con): I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require planning authorities to conduct a local referendum before considering planning permission for new large-scale waste recovery or disposal facilities which involve the recovery or disposal of waste from more than one county area; to provide that planning authorities and the Secretary of State must not grant planning permission if the result of such a referendum indicates that local people do not wish a facility to be developed; and for connected purposes. Click Here to view Full Extract

Marston Moreteyne Parish Council replies to Covanta Preliminary Environmental Report

Please Click Here to view

Bedfordshire Council’s Planning Consortium replies to Covanta Preliminary Environmental Report

March 2010

View letters/emails sent by residents in response to Covanta Consultation and upload your own

Click Here to read other responses and upload your own

MMAG responses to the Proposed Rookery South Resource Recovery Facility

Preliminary Environmental Report

Excerpt “Regarding the proposed Rookery South Resource Recovery Facility (incinerator) – it is the considered view of MMAG that the:

  • visual impact,
  • loss of wildlife habitat in an area that has naturally regenerated over many years,
  • predicted traffic levels with associated noise and dust pollution,
  • proposal to draw huge proportions of the waste processed by the plant from surrounding counties (at odds with the minerals and waste local plans),
  • fact incineration discourages recycling and contributes significantly to atmospheric CO2

Renders the proposal the wrong solution to dealing with Bedfordshire waste and in the wrong location.”

Please click here to read MMAG’s full response to Covanta

Infrastructure Planning Commission Presentation

MMAG along with many other elected representatives and community groups attended this event on 12th March which was really ; “Get to know the IPC”

A key statement from the IPC was that if the dis-benefits outweigh the solution offered by Covanta then the proposal will be refused by the IPC.

Click Here for the The IPC presentation.

MMAG and our sister group Our Marston Vale and a host of others are going to take the Covanta proposal apart line by line. We will demonstrate to the IPC that the Covanta proposal is the wrong solution and in the wrong place. Indeed Covanta at a separate meeting of the Community Liaison Panel on March 15th confirmed that Rookery Pit South isn’t necessarily the best place to put an incinerator when compared with other sites – it just happens to be the better site for Covanta !

Download Anti-Covanta Posters

Click Here to Download Anti-Covanta Posters – let’s get these in as many windows as possible – please talk to your neighbours

Mid Bedfordshire MP, Nadine Dorries, joins the campaign to stop Covanta

Nadine Dorries Says “Thank you for all your letters and emails of concern regarding Covanta’s proposals to build an incinerator pit in the heart of Mid-Bedfordshire.

Please see below the article I wrote for the Bedfordshire on Sunday which was printed on 21st March 2010, which highlights specifically my views of this proposal. I am 100% against this proposal and will do all in my power to make sure this incinerator pit does go ahead.” Click Here to view full story

Nadine Dorries attending Covanta Exhibition

Nadine Dorries MP will be attending the Covanta exhibition in Marston Moreteyne Village Hall on Friday March 12th at around 12.30 p.m. It is a great opportunity to meet your MP and express your views on this diabolical proposal for a giant regional incinerator. Hugh Roberts, MMAG Chair, will also be at the exhibition from around noon for a short while before going on to a meeting hosted by the Infrastructure Planning Commission at 2pm.

Heart FM interviews Chair of MMAG

Hugh Roberts, Chair of MMAG was interviewed by Heart FM following the dramatic reopening of negotiations by Buckinghamshire County Council with both Covanta and WRG regarding handling of their waste. Click here for E-Gov article

During the interview Hugh spoke about:

The opportunity presented to Buckinghamshires County Council to think again and be responsible for dealing with their waste themselves as we in Bedfordshire wish to deal with ours. Reiterated that it is completely unacceptable that Covanta and Buckinghamshire County Council are discussing in secret sending their waste to Bedfordshire -not even the taxpayers of Buckinghamshire are allowed to know because of supposed commercial confidentiality.

In response to a question about the proposed community grants Hugh said that MMAG is an opposition group not focussed on compensation. Further he queried who would wish to sell their souls to a company that discovers problems in the small print; hardly inspires trust and the amounts of money suggested are insulting and anyway it may be the offer will be like the balloons flying above the site on Friday March 12th, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th, just hot air !

As regards the balloons Hugh explained that MMAG wants Covanta to reveal the full horror of what they propose with balloons and on Friday there will be another significant audience in town – the IPC who also will be able to see what we will have to live with if they approve the Covanta proposal.

When asked about the WRG bid for a site in Calvert, Hugh said that the issue was really a matter for the people of Buckinghamshire to decide whether dumping their waste in another county or managing within their own boundaries was right.

Asked to speculate what the problem Covanta has experience is, Hugh noted that it must be pretty serious as the Buckinghamshire press release talks about potential referrals to the European Court of Justice.

Covanta – Balloon Flying Exercise 12-14th March 2010

Covanta will be flying balloons in Rookery Pit South on Friday March 12th, Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th to give an impression of the height of the chimney stack and building. This is part of a visit to the site by the Community Liaison Panel (of which MMAG and the Marston Moreteyne Parish Council are members) set up by Covanta to consult on the proposal.

Residents should be able to see the balloons from the village and certainly if walking on the eastern end of the country park which abuts Rookery Pit South.

Please take photos if you can and send them to us.

This is your chance to really get a sense of the impact the proposed giant regional incinerator will have on you, your family and our village.

Councillor Tim Hill launches Facebook Site – Residents Against Covanta Incinerator

Cllr Tim Hill, Bedford Borough Councillor for Wootton Ward has launched a Facebook campaign and has asked us to encourage our supporters, friends and family to sign up to this. Tim hopes to get thousands showing the depth of opposition to this diabolical proposal.!/group.php?v=wall&gid=332658045783
We look forward to receiving and posting in due course statements of opposition from many other local and national community and civic leaders.

MMAG Invited to meet with Infrastructure Planning Committee

MMAG, alongside the Parish Council has been represented your voice on Covanta’s Community Liaison Panel (Click Here to view Liaison Panel Minutes and Handouts). As previously mentioned due to their proposals being classified as a power station, planning will be handled by the newly created Infrastructure Planning Committee (IPC) rather than local planning processes.

Along with other groups MMAG has been invited to meet with the IPC on 12th March to better understand the process. It is not a meeting to explore Covanta’s proposal itself.

February 2010

Covanta Exhibitions – Use Your Voice!

Many of you will have received the letter (Click Here to View) from Covanta regarding their exhibitions on Marston Moreteyne; Millbrook; Houghton Conquest; Ampthill and Stewartby.

This part of their process seeking to build a giant incinerator next to the Country Park will be presented at the planning stage as part of their consultation with the community. If they get little response and/or little objection they will be able to present non engagement as ‘support’ for the proposals.

MMAG encourages you to attend one of the events. However, whether you do attend or not you MUST reply to their letter stating your objections. There are clear and balanced objections presented on the website (Click Here to View). Crucially, and interestingly omitted from their two page paper adverts this weekend, MMAG argues:

  • Bedfordshire has the right to deal with its own waste and not to, yet again, become the dumping ground of everybody else’s waste.
  • Sat between two railway lines, Covanta’s need for share holder profit means that no attempt will be made to transport waste by rail. It will all arrive by road.
  • Following Covanta’s initial comments on lorry traffic, they have now admitted that the facility would have 450 lorries a day (900 lorry movements A DAY) arriving and departing between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. 6 days a week and 7 days a week on Bank Holiday weekends. Experience of Brogborough Landfill is that lorries in fact arrive earlier and ‘stack up on surrounding roads awaiting opening time.
  • The lorries will use and in MMAG’s view gridlock the new Marston junction of the new A421 and heavily congest the new bypass defeating the purpose of the road.
  • If you live around the Arundel Road estate, Lower Shelton Road (within Marston Moreteyne), Roberts Drive etc. you will have heavy lorries thundering past you home at least between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. Remember these are proposed opening times. Again from experience of Brogborough Landfill, very quickly there becomes an ‘operational need’ to extent opening times and become seven days a week permanently.

Use the details in Covanta’s letter to reply and give them your views DEADLINE 5TH APRIL.

Dates of Exhibitions are:

Date Location Time
6th March (Saturday) Millbrook Village Hall 10am – 6pm
12th March (Friday) Marston Moretaine Village Hall 10am – 6pm
13th March (Saturday) Houghton Conquest Village Hall 10am – 5pm
14th March (Sunday) Parkside Hall Ampthill 10am – 6pm
20th March (Saturday) Stewartby Village Hall 10am – 6pm

In addition to the above dates the exhibition will be on permanent display at The Forest Centre Marston Moretaine from 7th March – 4th April

(excluding the above dates)

Our Marston Vale

Many of you will have seen in the local papers the article on Our Marston Vale. MMAG welcomes the fact that more people are getting involved to fight the Covanta proposals and sees strength in having three distinct voices speaking out against Covanta; MMAG, the Mayor of Bedford and Our Marston Vale.

MMAG continues to be the voice for local residents in Marston Moreteyne outside of the formal Parish Council structure. Only MMAG speaks on behalf of local residents so keep emailing us and letting us know what you feel is important with regards Covanta, Rookery Pit, waste management, wind turbines, travellers sites, mass housing growth and whatever else someone in a dark room suddenly decides YOUR community should live with!

MMAG response to consultation on draft NPS for Energy Infrastructure

MMAG has formally responded to the Consultation on draft National Policy Statements (NPS) for Energy Infrastructure arguing that they should be radically amended or not adopted.

Please Click Here to view full response.

MMAG invited to attend BEaR Project Planning Liaison Group

MMAG have been invited to attend a Planning Liaison Group (PLG) set up by the The BEaR Project to provide information on the proposed planning strategy and various technology solutions. It is proposed that the PLG will consist of representatives from the Parish Councils nearest to the Brogborough  site and a representative from the Marston Moreteyne and Lidlington action groups. The PLG will be involved with the design of the waste treatment facility and will be able to review environmental,transportation and logistical issues.

The first meeting is expected to be the beginning of March. Other members of the group are likely to be a planning advisor, the BEaR Project team and a member of the Central Bedfordshire Waste Services department (TBC). Terms of Reference to be published in due course.

Rest assured the aim of the group is not to change peoples’ minds or achieve consensus and membership does not imply MMAG support for the BEaR Project or any planning application.

January 2010

United Front in Campaign to Stop ‘Mammoth’ Rookery Pit Incinerator Bid

Following the meeting on January 4th – the Mayor’s office has issued a press release.  Click Here to View.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s application for £79 million PFI credits turned down

Central Bedfordshire Council’s application for £79 million of Government PFI credits has been turned down after Luton Council withdrew from the Bedfordshire Energy and Recycling project last month.

Central Bedfordshire received a response from theDepartment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stating they will not be reviewing the OBC as it is now fundamentally undermined through Luton’s decision to pull out. Bedford Borough council, which was also originally a partner in the project, pulled out before Luton in October.

Over the lifetime of the project the PFI grant would have been worth £140M.

A unanimous decision was made by Luton’s Executive to back out of the BEaR project following Bedford Borough Council’s decision to leave, which resulted in significantly increased costs.

When Luton announced its decision Central Bedfordshire Council submitted its Outline Business Case on December 11 but a spokesperson for the council explained that it was unlikely it will receive PFI funding, “if we cannot demonstrate partnership working”.

Speaking about the future of the project Central Bedfordshire Council Leader Cllr Tricia Turner said: “All that we are now tasked with is looking at how we will deliver our long term waste solution for Central Bedfordshire residents and we are looking into alternative funding options.”

December 2009

MMAG along with representatives from Stewartby met with the Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson. The Mayor has agreed to host an open meeting of all those opposed to the Covanta Incinerator plans for Rookery Pit. The meeting will be:

Bedford Borough Hall (former County Council building)

January 4th 2010 7 p.m.

October 2009

As you know Covanta intend to submit a planning application for an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant to be built in Rookery Pit. In advance Covanta have already secured a contract with Buckinghamshire County Council to process their waste on the site. MMAG – without prejudice to our opposition to this proposal – are one of the members of the Community Liaison Panel (CLP) set up by Covanta to facilitate communication between Covanta and surrounding communities. The first meeting of the CLP took place on September 22nd at the Forest Centre and focused on the design of the plant, public health and air quality issues. Covanta shared with the CLP several mocked up photographic images of what the plant might look like, but retained these at the end of the meeting. MMAG have no hesitation in saying the plant would have an offensive visual impact whether viewed from the village, Forest Centre, Stewartby, Brogborough Hill or Ampthill Park and would dominate the skyline for miles around. Please Click Here to View an Artisits Impression.

Covanta drew attention to a recent Health Protection Agency statement that “modern well managed incinerators make only a small contribution to local concentrations of air pollutants. It is possible that such small additions could have an impact on health but such effects, if they exist, are likely to be very small and not detectable”.

However, the Action Group which successfully opposed similar plans for an incinerator in Buckinghamshire ( saw incineration as a serious health risk as evidenced by the requirement for a high chimney (the Covanta Rookery Pit chimney if built, would be 115 metres high in comparison with the brickworks chimneys of 80 metres) . Incinerators emit ‘particulates’ the most serious of which contributes to increased risk of heart disorders, birth defects, cancer and other health disorders. See for more details. 90% of PM2.5 particulates are not scrubbed out of chimney emissions and the residual fly ash contains mercury, arsenic, nickel, lead and dioxins; so toxic in fact that it must be taken to a licensed landfill for hazardous waste. What a dreadful irony – in order to avoid landfill taxes the incinerator produces a substance so toxic it can only be land-filled! There is also the pollution that comes from the transport of the waste to and from the site; all of which will be by lorry. Of course a particular feature of the Marston Vale is the meteorological phenomenon known as ‘thermal inversion’. Although the prevailing wind is south westerly because we live in a vale, pollution can become trapped and may then fall back into the Marston Vale. To overcome this phenomenon the incinerator chimney may need to be even higher – but the emissions have to come down somewhere!

So what are MMAG doing? We are liaising closely with other groups and in the event of a planning application, which due to its classification as a power station will bypass all local planning processes, we will make our opposition clearly felt with the Secretary of State.