Our position on Rookery South Pit
This statement explains our position with respect to future growth proposals in the Marston Vale and our objections and concerns with the proposal for a waste to energy facility at Rookery South Pit, south of Stewartby.
We have been opposed to the building of a large regional energy from waste facility at Rookery South Pit near Stewartby since 2010. This has been for a variety of environmental and social impacts. Since 2010, the proposals have been taken forward using planning legislation designed to deliver major national infrastructure with the decision being taken at a national, not local level.
We presented our case against the application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) at public hearings in 2011 and again at a Special Parliamentary Committee in 2012. The DCO was granted in 2013. We also made representations to the Environment Agency on the application for an environmental permit, which deals with operational site matters, in 2017. The Permit was granted in January 2018. Work started on the construction of the facility at the beginning of January 2018.
We launched the new Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire in February 2016. Since then we have undertaken extensive public consultation on the options for the Local Plan culminating in the Pre-Submission Plan published for consultation in January 2018.
We have taken every opportunity to challenge the development with Rookery South Pit. The issues have now been considered by three different public bodies and approved. The conclusions from these processes are that there are no environmental impacts sufficient to refuse consent; that the operation of the installation should comply with all relevant legal requirements and that through the controls imposed by the different decisions, a high level of protection will be delivered for the environment and human health.
Set against the background, that the impact of the development has been repeatedly examined and is now fully permitted and under construction, we are now satisfied that there will be no impact on local communities including existing communities in close proximity to the incinerator such as Marston Moretaine and Lidlington. This includes nearby planned developments such as the 5,000 new homes planned in the Marston Valley, and as such we have not excluded this area of the Marston Vale when considering the options for growth proposals in its area. The relationship between the waste facility and future growth will undoubtedly be a matter that will form part of the public examination into the Local Plan later in 2018.