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Stewartby Incinerator Future Back in Question as Council Resolves to Fight Plans in Parliament

December 16, 2011 10:08 AM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats
Cllr Tim Hill

Cllr Tim Hill, Elstow and Stewartby Ward

Mayor Dave Hodgson

Mayor Dave Hodgson

The prospects for the proposed giant incinerator near Stewartby are back in the balance after it was confirmed that the decision by the soon-to-be abolished quango the Infrastructure Planning Commission to grant permission will face scrutiny in Parliament. The unelected IPC's decision will be subject to a 'Special Parliamentary Procedure' after Bedford Borough Council, along with Central Bedfordshire Council, refused to withdraw its objection to the plans, which involve the compulsory purchase of Council land.

The Council has now resolved to present a petition to Parliament objecting to the huge 585,000 tonne incinerator which, if accepted, will be considered by a joint committee of both Houses of Parliament. The joint committee will undertake a rigorous review of the decision and conduct a hearing at which objections or proposed amendments are considered, with witnesses called under oath to give evidence and subject to cross examination. The hearing can involve a complete reconsideration of the original case.

The developments have been welcomed by Liberal Democrat Mayor Dave Hodgson, who has campaigned alongside residents in opposition to plans for an incinerator at Rookery Pit for a number of years. Commenting on the news that that the decision of the IPC will be subject to the specially parliamentary procedure and face a formal objection from Bedford Borough Council in Parliament, he said: "This news will give hope to residents whose views on the damaging impact of the giant incinerator for our communities have been totally ignored in the decision-making process to date. It is a welcome development that after the appalling decision of the doomed quango the IPC, parliament will now hear the arguments over this incinerator, which would do so much damage to the local and wider environment for generations to come. We must all speak with one voice alongside local residents and use this new opportunity to make clear what is only too obvious to our communities: The Covanta incinerator is too big, too dirty and just plain wrong."

Liberal Democrat Ward Councillor for Elstow and Stewartby Tim Hill added: "The manner in which the unaccountable IPC rode roughshod over the overwhelming views of local residents, both local Councils and parish Councils was disgraceful. I am therefore very pleased that the arguments against these dreadful plans will be heard in parliament, with Bedford Borough Council outlining the fundamental flaws including the massive size of the plant, the unacceptable technology and the excessive number of lorry journeys over local roads. I will continue to fight alongside local residents as the campaign to save our communities from the giant incinerator goes on."