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Appalled by Unaccountable IPC's Incinerator Green Light

October 18, 2011 6:24 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough
Dave Hodgson joins Stewartby residents protesting against the Covanta Incinerator

The views of local residents, who have campaigned in great numbers against the dreadful incinerator plans, have been overlooked by the undemocratic decision-making process

I was utterly appalled by the news which came through on Thursday evening, as the the worst fears of local residents were confirmed with the announcement that the national quango 'The Infrastructure Planning Commission' had approved the application by US waste firm Covanta to build a mammoth, 600,000 tonne capacity incinerator at Rookery Pit near Stewartby. It is frankly sickening news for local residents in Stewartby and all communities nearby, who couldn't have been clearer in making clear to the IPC that local opposition to the oversized rubbish burner is absolutely overwhelming.

The decision, made by people who are totally unaccountable for it, represents a betrayal of local residents and of any notion of democracy. Communities in the Marston Vale have had to put up with other people's waste for generations as it was trucked in to be dumped in landfill. Now an unelected, remote quango which answers to no-one has callously decided that those communities must continue to put up with other people's waste for generations to come.

Environmentally harmful incineration is the wrong waste treatment technology, and the plant's enormous capacity will work against all sound environmental principles of reducing, reusing and recycling waste. Its monumental size will also represent a huge blot on the landscape of the Marston Vale.

This monster will need feeding 24 hours a day, and will be drawing in rubbish from a huge area. All of the waste will come in by lorry, with 600 journeys a day in and out of the site over local roads, damaging local air quality and the wellbeing of local communities. Residents were united in setting out the harm the plant will cause to local quality of life, while technical and environmental submissions from the local Councils laid bare the plans' fundamental flaws. None of that has counted for anything under this shamefully undemocratic process, which has sorely let down current and future residents of Stewartby and the surrounding area.

It remains to be seen if the plant will be able to attract enough waste to make it viable, and I will continue to join with residents in telling Covanta that their oversized, dirty and environmentally damaging incinerator is not wanted here.