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New Hope in Covanta Incinerator Fight, as the Battle Heads for Parliament

December 15, 2011 6:39 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough
Dave Hodgson joins Stewartby residents protesting against the Covanta Incinerator

I will continue to stand alongside residents in opposition to the dreadful proposals for a giant incinerator near Stewartby

There's new hope in the fight against the abominable plans of the waste firm Covanta to build a monstrous 600,000 tonne incinerator near Stewartby, with the final decision on its future to be considered in Parliament. The decision by the soon-to-be abolished quango the Infrastructure Planning Commission to grant permission 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 case put by the Council will include the points it has put forward through this process, such as the massive size of the plant, the unacceptable technology and the excessive number of lorry journeys over local roads. A joint committee of both Houses of Parliament is likely to 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. It is difficult to know how much hope we should take from this development, as the Special Parliamentary Proceudre has been so rarely used in recent years in Parliament, but at least there is now a chance that the clear views of local communities, which were so woefully ignored by the unnacountable IPC quango, will be listened to.

There are far superior technologies for dealing with our waste, and the sheer size of Covanta's proposed plant will have a devastating impact on the local and wider environment. 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.