Cross Keys Swing Bridge, Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire

Menu:

The Proposed 'Energy Park' Complex at Sutton Bridge


Mar 30 2015

SUTTON BRIDGE INCINERATOR
March 2015 Update - Cautious optimism

As residents of Sutton Bridge and surrounding areas are now aware, the SHDC Planning Department refused the planning application by ESPB, overturning an earlier decision to approve it.


Campaigners against the building of the Sutton Bridge gasifier/incinerator celebrating in the foyer of the Council Offices after the decision by SHDC to reject the planning application.

The original plan was scuppered by a Judicial Review which stated that the judgement was unlawful on the grounds of sustainability of feedstock. This was after months of careful delving into documents by various local people, and others, who were very concerned about this development and the other planned one, – a second gas-fired power station – on the same site.

The main issues were: the effect of cumulative emissions on the local and wider populations and the biodiversity of The Wash – an European Marine Site and SAC; the building of such developments in a high-risk flood area; the possibility of run-off into local drainage systems, including the river Nene; the increase in traffic movements during a 16-hour day over a 7 day period.

Neither development would have produced significant jobs for local people. Construction companies usually bring their own workforce with them.

At the Priory Road Planning Meeting in Spalding, on 18th March, there was a unanimous vote in favour of the Planning Officers’ recommendation that permission for the building of the incinerator be refused on the grounds that the Developer (once known as PREL) had not answered penetrating questions to support their reapplication. In fact PREL had not even had the good grace to reply to anything since August 2014. One might feel that they were simply opportunistic amateurs, and had been so from the very start, back in November 2009.

The vote was formally proposed by Cllr Brewis, but one should not be under any illusion that this means that he has ever given a moment of support for the campaign.

In May 2009 he is on record as having said that he thought the incinerator was a ‘good idea’; in 2012 he was thanked by the PREL’s publicity representative for helping to deliver their leaflets round the village; when the incinerator was considered at the initial SHDC Planning Committee meeting he ‘betrayed the village’ by not speaking out against it—his only comment was that we ought to be provided with reassurance that no foreign bugs came into the country with imported wood feedstock; he was scathing about the demonstration through the village against the incinerator.

The Finance Committee of the Parish Council failed to support a Judicial Review on the grounds that it would be bankrupted if it did and anti-incinerator posters were removed from the village streets.

Politicians find it convenient that their electors have very short memories. It might be worth refreshing our minds about the history of this.

A number of campaigners have spent a great deal of time and energy researching the ramifications of the proposed development, writing letters and articles, designing and distributing leaflets and posters, and developing a case for the developers to answer.

SHDC Planning Committee Chairman Roger Gambba-Jones was a good deal less than respectful towards the objectors’ case originally, asserting that they had to be clear that the Planning Committee was simply giving permission for a building – nothing else constituted a ‘material consideration’ – neither traffic problems nor sustainability of feedstock supply nor the danger of explosions in feedstock storage. The Planning committee were simply giving permission for a building.

As things turned out, an individual Parish Councillor offered to finance a Judicial Review process and, faced with the Courts, realising that they were on flimsy ground, SHDC caved in before things could get to that stage.

After the case was overturned by the Courts the Planning Officers asked the questions of the developers that they should have asked in the first place, which would have saved the taxpayer a lot of money. The questions they finally asked were based on the results of campaigners’ research.

The item ‘EPSB’ was despatched fairly quickly at the 18th March Planning committee Meeting. One had the feeling that the Chairman expected some applause from the few of those people who attended the meeting. It was not forthcoming. The overturning of the proposal was not based on anything rational; the Committee failed to acknowledge the efforts of the Campaigners.

Now there is matter of the second Power Station which it is proposed to build on a green field site on the other side of the unmonitored existing power station.

This development proposal is currently awaiting a decision by the Secretary of State.  It is to be hoped that a last minute pre-election decision in favour is not given at the eleventh hour.


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Jul 30 2014

PREL (Green Pacific) Energy Park Sutton Bridge
July 2014 Update

Residents of Sutton Bridge joined the demonstration outside SHDC Offices on Wednesday, July 23rd to show their opposition to the development of a biomass incinerator (gasifier) next to a planned extension to an existing gas-fired power station. 


Petitioners arrive at the District Council Offices car park


The coffin is carried by two of the petitioners


Petitioners and protesters group before heading towards the Entrance

A Petition signed by over 900 local people was handed in to Chairman of the South Holland District Council, by Mrs Shirley Giles. The Petition called for a Public Enquiry into the Energy Park Sutton Bridge application. Parish Councillor, Mrs Giles successfully took the Council to court where the Judge found that the Planning committee’s decision was unlawful on the grounds of sustainability. A revised application was submitted by the developers in June and is currently with SHDC Planning Department awaiting a decision.


The petitioners outside the entrance to the District Council Offices

Local people are concerned that the combined emissions from these three power-generating buildings via 17 chimneys will clearly have an effect on their lives and on the environment in which they live.  In addition CO2 from the HGV lorries bringing in raw material for the biomass plant, and their exit, will add significantly to these emissions.

Neighbouring parish councils have shown their support to Sutton Bridge by voicing their grave concerns in letters of Objection to SHDC and to the Energy Secretary and to DECC.

At a Meeting in Sutton Bridge on Thursday July 24th, local residents unanimously supported the decision of the Parish council to hold a Parish Poll.

It was disappointing that the Parish & District Councillor Chris Brewis, who is a member of the planning committee at SHDC, was unable to attend the meeting.  However, fellow Parish Councillor & District Councillor, Michael Booth, said that although he was unable to vote at the Planning Committee Meetings, he would comment and would pass on the feelings of the Meeting when it next met to discuss the planning application (H18-0723-12)

Members of the public applauded the Parish Council’s decision to seek their own independent expert opinion now that SHDC has said they will not ask for an independent EIA.

People attending the Meeting said it was encouraging to see a growing number of young people becoming involved, particularly those with young families.  It is the parents and the children of our village who will experience the effects of these developments.

On Saturday, July 26th at 10.00 am there was a demonstration by the people of Sutton Bridge to show their opposition to the development. Over 60 vehicles paraded along Bridge Road, around the bridge roundabout, back along Bridge Road, through the Falklands Estate and back to the Cross Keys Bridge before returning to the Curlew Centre where the parade officially disbanded. 

A participant wrote:

“Having heard the protest cavalcade was due to leave the Curlew Centre at 10 am, I arrived in time to see Kevin, the biker, with the Vicar riding pillion, lead the way from opposite the Centre.  They were followed by an incredible queue of cars that had been lined up and were waiting along New Road. The amount of noise and number of flag bearing vehicles was amazing. Even cars that had been caught up in the protest cavalcade took it all in good part.

“Many people walked alongside carrying their placards protesting against the incinerator /gasifier, passing groups of people standing at strategic points along the way. It was a heart warming experience that so many residents had taken time out to join this protest.”

At the Village Green, and the approach to the Bridge, pedestrians stood with banners, cheerfully acknowledging the support of the passing traffic of holidaymakers and others.  Disruption was minimal but it made a strong point.


Protesters at the roundabout approach to the Cross Keys Bridge


Protestors on the East Bank side of the Bridge

As the demonstration began to disband, a large group of demonstrators moved along Bridge Road to stand outside the house of District Councillor, Chris Brewis, to urge him to rethink his position. 


Demonstrators near Railway Lane

The object of the demonstration was to increase public awareness and to show how quickly traffic will build up on the A17 and other roads with the increased volume of traffic in and out of the plant—said to be between one lorry movements in and out every 5/6 minutes from 7.00am to 11pm.

The revised planning application is still with South Holland District Council and yet to be debated. The next Planning Meeting is at the end of August, but to date, it is not clear if this application will be on the Agenda.


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Jul 07 2014

WASH & SUTTON BRIDGE PROTECTION GROUP (WSBPG)

A new group—Wash & Sutton Bridge Protection Group (WSBPG) — has been set up to fight off a proposed development for a gasifier at Sutton Bridge. A Petition has been started and so far over 800 signatures have been collected.


All set up ready to receive signatories for the Petition

Residents of Sutton Bridge are taking action against the re-submission by the developers, Energy Park Sutton Bridge Ltd (PREL).  The original planning consent was quashed, judged as being unlawful, after Shirley Giles, a parish councillor and former restaurant owner in Sutton Bridge, independently sought a Judicial Review.


Members of WSBPG defying the rain to collect signatures 
(L to R) Vicki, Shirley, Jenny, Colin & Brian


Even the rain could not keep them away!

Local residents and organisations considered the time-scale of 3 weeks too short to study the enormous amount of regulatory information contained within the new application.

If this decision goes in favour of PREL, then Sutton Bridge residents will be faced with three power stations (the existing gas-fired power station and a recently approved addition with a much greater capacity alongside) creating a visual impact of 17 chimneys.

Sutton Bridge future skyline
An artist's impression of how Sutton Bridge could look after it's been the dumping ground for Wind Turbines, the existing Power Station, a second much larger gas-fired Power Station and the PREL (Green Pacific) Gasifier/Incinerator.

There is great concern about the effect of the cumulative emissions on the general population as well as on the biodiversity of The Wash, a Special Area of Conservation, also a European Marine Site.

Other important issues are the problems of increased traffic on the A17 in both directions in terms of carbon emissions and road congestion, as well as the continuing unanswered question as to where the proposed feedstock (wood pellets) is coming from.

Agencies have already stated that there is not enough supply of this material in East Anglia to fuel the proposed capacity of this plant. The most likely source is the USA, where stockpiles exist already.  However, other biomass plants across the country face the same problem.

Government policies dictate the direction local planning authorities must take, but local people also have a voice. So far the public voice is being ignored.

A protest demonstration is also planned in Sutton Bridge on Saturday, July 26th.

The Parish Council is meeting on July 11th  at 11.30am to consider the next step.


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

STOP THE BIOMASS EXPERIMENT IN SUTTON BRIDGE!

A Petition to Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change:
We ask you to prevent the installation of this experimental and unproven technology on our doorstep.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND SIGN THE PETITION

 

May 11 2013

"If the people of Sutton Bridge do not want the biomass plant, we will not build it..."
Ms Rome (PREL PR person—November 2012)

The people of Sutton Bridge have voted and petitioned against the Incinerator... So who can we trust now? Since at the meeting of May 8th Cllr Brewis ignored a request from a resident* to act as an advocate on her behalf there is nobody standing up for Sutton Bridge—we are disenfranchised, unless the Parish Council can be moved to intervene.

*See Note 1


Notes on the South Holland District Council Planning Committee Meeting - 8th May 2013

What was the point in producing, at huge expense to the taxpayer, a dodgy dossier when the outcome of the meeting was a foregone conclusion? In it, however, for amusement (if it were not so serious) there's a comment on the meeting of 17th April:-

Members held a fulsome debate and fully explored the details of the application in light of prevailing policies and guidance; which included taking into account the views expressed by both the applicants and public speakers.

Anybody, who has followed the course of interactions with PREL over the last four years and who can afford the time & energy to watch the web-cast of the meeting of the 17th April can see for themselves that this is, in technical terms, utter tosh.

The members of the Planning Committee are fooling themselves if they believe this.

A 'fulsome debate'? Does the writer know the meaning of the word 'fulsome'.

A few councillors hacked at possibilities and admitted they didn't fully understand all the issues; others made peremptory subjective comments from little knowledge; the tone of the 'Planning Officers' was bored and dismissive; Councillor Brewis waffled about issues that indicated that he had already made up his mind about accepting the PREL application; two councillors did a stage-managed set-piece around 8.30 to draw things to a conclusion acceptable to the 'Planning Officers' and the Chair. The views expressed by public speakers were ignored.

'Fulsome'? A full exploration?

Another Brilliant Piece of Stage-management...

Presumably the members of the Planning Committee rested comfortably in their beds under the illusion that on 8th May they had mounted yet another 'fulsome debate' and had 'fully explored' the Discounted Electricity bribe.

Unbelievable tosh!

Mr. Fidler offered another poor presentation in an off-hand & tedious tone which suggested that he'd rather be at home watching telly. He dismissed complaints as though they'd come from naughty adolescents.

The worries about water quality in the Wash were dismissed because PREL would 'not be using water'. We don't know that and in any case the fallout from emissions will wind up in the water in the Wash just as it will fall on crops and enter the food-chain that way.

Craig Jackson's objections to the scale, scope and negotiation of the Discounted Electricity sop were summarily dismissed along with everything else that Jenny Rowe & Craig Jackson said—Cllr Tennant said that he had 'heard nothing new' from them.

It seems now to be accepted as standard that feedstock will have to be imported. The question of where it will be imported to is ducked. If Port Sutton Bridge, then HGV's will inevitably clog up the bridge area; if King's Lynn then the A17 in that direction will be a nightmare and so will its port.

The Chairman Speaks

"I'm suggesting that we restrict discussion this evening to the issue of Discounted Electricity". Nobody on the Planning Committee pointed out that since that was the chairman's position it would have to be voted on. Never mind that the outcome of a vote was obvious since everybody had already made up their mind.

It seems that we are now to accept that the PREL proposal is neither an Incinerator nor a Gasifier. "It's a power station," said the Chair, with a snooty air of authority.

Who will monitor the conditions to be attached to the plan? Mr. Fidler said that if there were breaches there would be remedies. The Chair had said previously that it would be up to the residents to make complaints. That's Localism.

Incidentally, at a Parish Meeting, Ms Rome gave assurances, which of course are not recorded, that the residents would be able to negotiate maybe two two-hour slots during the day when there would be no traffic movements. Why hasn't that been recorded except somewhere in Bridge Watch notes?

Brewis Waffles

Cllr Brewis said he was satisfied with assurances about the tracking of HGV's. "That would also address the issue of traffic numbers..." One has to ask how he imagines that that could be the case.

He again said he wanted stringent import controls. He was told by Mr. Fidler that this was a matter for government—it was beyond the scope of the planning process.

Cllr Brewis said he wasn't happy with this: the feedstock should come in hermetically sealed containers. Bark [from trees] was especially a concern for him.

He muttered something about members who thought there was insufficient information to make a proper decision omitting to say that he thought that himself.

At the end of the meeting Cllr Brewis, for the sake of appearances and in the belief that this would satisfy residents, voted against acceptance but it was still on the grounds that there had been no assurance that the feedstock would come in 'hermetically sealed containers'.

All this was allowed by the Chair in spite of the stated purpose of the meeting.

Discounted Electricity

The Chairman speaks again: Discounted Electricity 'is not a show-stopper—it will be in the application but it is not a material concern...'

There was no discussion at all about the details of the PREL 'offer' which Craig Jackson had pointed out was totally inadequate because it was capped in various ways that would lead to administrative chaos. It was ruled that it was not the case that this kind of thing could be negotiated: when asked by Cllr Wilkinson whether local groups would be involved in the Discounted Electricity scheme, P Jackson said, "No. In my mind it would be inappropriate to involve wider representation.' In his mind? What about the 'mind' of the Planning Committee?

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that the scheme will be a stitch-up between 'Planners' and PREL.

The Need to Consider the Application 'In the Round'

P Jackson repeated this mantra several times and gave the Committee to understand that in his opinion the protesters were disingenuous.

If 'considering the application in the round' means taking all factors into account that is exactly what the Planning Officers and the Planning Committee have signally failed to do.

"There has been no lack of transparency," said P Jackson. Just a lack of considering all factors. There is no foresight in the planning methodology.

"Environmental issues we've dealt with in the round," said P Jackson.

Like ruling out what's in the emissions dropping into the Wash...?

A Shouting Match

This part of the Planning Meeting ended with shouts of anger and frustration from protesters who exited in disgust at what they considered to be a pointless charade.

When legitimate democratic concerns are jumped upon and when there is no further chance to express oneself, shouting seems the only possible outcome.

As if to address this state of affairs, the Government has recently produced a National Planning Policy Framework. Could it possibly be that the PREL application has been rushed through with unseemly haste in order to avoid compliance with the stated aims of this Framework? See Note 2 (below).


Notes

1. Cllr Brewis was asked to present this to the Planning Committee on behalf of a resident:-

A Moral Question

I am given to understand that the job of this Committee, having viewed, and given full consideration to the full details of the application, has to decide whether to accept or reject the application.

I also understand that the purpose of a planning committee meeting is to determine whether any proposed building will have an impact on its surroundings and that concerns about emissions, no matter how genuine, are not in the remit of planning committees.

But I should like to point out that this application included an EIA, albeit produced by the applicants, not an independent EIA as some agencies requested, and that a number of issues raised by relevant authorities have not been fully, or satisfactorily, answered. This application is about an industrial process, not simply about a building and its impact on the surrounding area.

As a resident, who lives within the 'catchment' area of the planned site, I have grave concerns about the health of myself, my family and my community as well as the future health of generations to come.

It is easy to dismiss this fear with a wave of the hand, or a line through a text, but dismissals of similar concerns were made about asbestos and radiation, and we all know people who have suffered and died of asbestosis. And it is still causing problems.

Similarly, the effect of radiation from nuclear power plants have caused , and continue to cause, harm to people living near to the source of production. No amount of safeguards can eliminate any future possible harm. The plain fact is that nobody knows. It is simply not good enough to say that emissions are 'small', or 'insignificant'.

The Wingland site could have three structures producing emissions. Cumulatively, this has to be harmful. It is only logical. Experts in the past have been wrong.

So I ask you, all of you, as individuals, a moral question: can you really put your hand on your heart and say in all honesty that this application has been properly considered and is safe for us and future generations. In yours shoes, I could not.

Janet Blundell 7.5.2013

2. Ministerial Foreword to a National Planning Policy Framework by Greg Clark, Minister for Planning. Highlighted points

  1. The purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development. Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don't mean worse lives for future generations.
  2. Sustainable development is about change for the better, and not only in our built environment.
  3. Our natural environment is essential to our wellbeing, and it can be better looked after than it has been.
  4. Our historic environment - buildings, landscapes, towns and villages - can better be cherished if their spirit of place thrives, rather than withers.
  5. So sustainable development is about positive growth - making economic, environmental and social progress for this and future generations. The planning system is about helping to make this happen.
  6. Development that is sustainable should go ahead, without delay - a presumption in favour of sustainable development that is the basis for every plan, and every decision. This framework sets out clearly what could make a proposed plan or development unsustainable.
  7. In order to fulfil its purpose of helping achieve sustainable development, planning must not simply be about scrutiny. Planning must be a creative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve the places in which we live our lives.
  8. This should be a collective enterprise. Yet, in recent years, planning has tended to exclude, rather than to include, people and communities. In part, this has been a result of targets being imposed, and decisions taken, by bodies remote from them.
  9. Dismantling the unaccountable regional apparatus and introducing neighbourhood planning addresses this.
  10. In part, people have been put off from getting involved because planning policy itself has become so elaborate and forbidding - the preserve of specialists, rather than people in communities.
  11. This National Planning Policy Framework changes that. By replacing over a thousand pages of national policy with around fifty, written simply and clearly, we are allowing people and communities back into planning.

It is surely highly unlikely that the PREL application would have met these criteria...


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Apr 22 2013

Planning for an Incinerator - South Holland District Council Planning Committee Meeting 17th April

Pre-amble to the Report on Wednesday's Meeting

It's important here to restate Bridge Watch's raison d'être.

Bridge Watch came into being in 2009 when it became clear that the PC had been manipulated into acceptance of a process devised and run by Cllr. Brewis designed to get a vote against the 'Bridge Road Enhancement Scheme'. It was agreed that an unintended by-product of the scheme was a traffic calming effect. After the waste of a considerable amount of public money the scheme was partly dismantled and the road returned to the race track it used to be.

Bridge Watch continued to monitor the proceedings of the PC in a neutral kind of way. It seemed to have some effect on the way Councillors conducted their business - they were more circumspect knowing they were being watched.

We have similarly tried to be objective in our study of what went on at this District Planning Committee meeting.

It is of course inevitable that individuals in Bridge Watch will have their own points of view. But we think that an innocent observer would have found this meeting lacking in a number of ways quite apart from the matter being discussed.

Councillors had not done their homework and were ill-prepared to participate fully in a complex discussion. Officers and Chairman seemed determined to push ahead with the aim of finishing at 8.30 come what may. At the end, it seemed as though even the purpose of deferment was a put up job.

Introduction

There was a distinct impression that this whole exercise was stage-managed to end at 8.30 with the intention that the so-called Planners recommendation that the PREL Planning Application be accepted should be passed whatever might be said during the so-called 'discussion'. That the Chairman saw fit in a dictatorial fashion to warn the public gallery that if they created a rumpus they'd be thrown out was no doubt because he already knew the outcome of the meeting and anticipated some degree of fury which they'd be inclined to express.

The whole tone of the Chairman's opening speech to the public gallery was arrogant and insulting. It demonstrated disrespect, not something which councillors are supposed to show. At one point during the proceedings he accused the residents of being ill-informed or labouring under a misunderstanding of the Localism Act: he said that there were no words therein about stopping development - the intention was that local people be invited to offer 'robust input' on how development should take place. So much for Localism. Cllr. Tennant offered the insight that 'Public opinion was important BUT...'

There was a general air of contempt for councillors, especially those who seemed to waver, and for Sutton Bridge residents for even being there; the planning officers and the Chair ran the show.

At the end of the meeting, for reasons best known to himself, Cllr. Gambba-Jones saw fit to praise the quality of the discussion. This was not at all the nature of the charade we witnessed. It was clear that, though a few claimed to have read the planning document several times, councillors had not come to the meeting with the issues at their finger-tips; it's one thing to cast your eyes over a document and quite another thing to grapple with its meaning and implications. If they had done their homework the 'discussion' would have got off the ground much more quickly and with more sense of purpose than it did.

Councillors gave no indication that they had any real detailed knowledge of the issues involved; the lack of clarity over the number of lorry movements was one example: is the plant to operate 24/7 or just during the hours of daylight? (See Note 1 at the end of this report for an account of some of the variables involved).

Cllr. Lawton was allowed to get away with stopping any doubt by repeating the applicant's meaningless figure of there being 'only a 1% increase in A17 traffic'. We all know that percentages are only useful to people who wish to prove a point.

Nobody pursued the issue of the source or nature of the feedstock. There was no suggestion that Councillors knew anything about the site of the proposed installation nor did they seem to care one way or the other. The general view seemed to be that since the area is already industrialised one more item won't make any difference.

When it was repeated ad nauseam that Wingland was a designated industrial area, Cllr. Gambba-Jones had the effrontery to suggest that the residents of Sutton Bridge could and should have got it de-classified as such long ago if they did not want an incinerator on their doorstep.

The Planning Officers' Presentation

Not only was the presentation extremely poor but the manner in which Mr. Fidler addressed the chamber (and the members of the public) was so off-hand and cursory that anyone might be forgiven for thinking that this was not a very important issue up for a crucial life-changing decision to be made.

A set of poorly focussed and virtually illegible slides was projected. That the presenter had obviously not bothered to make sure that the slides were properly visible is another sign of contempt for the audience. "You probably can't see these..." is a cardinal sin in a presenter.

Such slides as there were, were presented very quickly and in a peremptory manner. The laser indicator was virtually impossible to see, especially since Mr. Fidler flicked it around without bothering to linger over what he was apparently talking about. Councillors who had not done their homework would have made no sense of the presentation. It's not surprising that they could not find much to say.

It's also interesting that all the projected material came from the applicant's own sources. There was absolutely no evidence that the 'planners' themselves had taken the trouble to relate the photos, plans & diagrams to the reality of the site itself. Apart from Councillors Brewis and Booth no one seemed to have any knowledge about the proposed site except as a mark on a map - if they did they didn't show it.

The PREL photos are entirely misleading - they were taken to support their case and present things in the best possible light. Huge empty fields, a very distant view of the existing power station, empty roads and, of course, pre-wind turbines. The general impression was of a place where the proposed incinerator would fit quite neatly and where 350,000 tons of 'feedstock' a year could be delivered without much bother or disruption to the community.

Mr. Fidler's whole mode of delivery was such as to suggest that the smooth passage of the application was no more than a formality. A decision had already been made. Whatever contribution to any kind of debate the councillors might indulge in was of no consequence.

None of the important issues was given its due attention; the letter from our MP, Mr. John Hayes (late energy Minister) was totally ignored and when one or two councillors attempted to raise their concerns, they were dismissed on some point of order. The word 'sham' comes to mind.

The Chair allowed nothing that seemed to be likely to delay proceedings and cast doubts in the minds of Councillors to be followed up. For example, the question of whether the presence of an incinerator on the site would frighten other developers off. This was shrugged off by the Chair. The honesty of Cllr. Rudkin who seemed to be inclined to ask for deferment so they could assimilate all the information was brushed aside.

Mr. Fidler said he was not prepared to go through all the issues all over again and that, after a proposal for deferment was accepted, when the next meeting of the Planning Committee took place on the incinerator matter it should confine itself to voting on a legal document binding PREL to the provision of discounted electricity prices to both industry on the Wingland site and to the local community.

The deferment of a decision was based solely on whether or not the officers can obtain a legal document to ensure that another 'bribe'— cheaper electricity for residents and local businesses. The meeting ending with this Chairman's sop to the residents of Sutton Bridge, it seemed pretty clear that it was deemed more important to rush the application and that the twin bribes of a PREL fund for the community and the offer of cheaper electricity should take preference over the real issues. Cllr. Gamba-Jones had deliberately ruled out the Fund from discussion earlier on because 'it was not there to make what is unacceptable acceptable...' But, it seemed, it was OK to discuss discounted electricity which had surely been raised '...to make what is unacceptable acceptable...'

The health of local residents and the state of the environment were casually dismissed because the relevant authorities had 'raised no objections'. In fact many issues have been raised by them and other organisations, but they have not been pursued partly because each authority has its own remit and is unable to process things globally. The fragmentation of information leads to chaos and dysfunction.

Deferment

It was almost as though deferment based on the offer of cheaper electricity had been the direction in which the whole meeting had been stage-managed. It was made to seem likely to be a great deal for the residents.

Cllr. Gambba-Jones looked meaningfully at the public gallery when he repeated that no issues other than the applicant's commitment to the provision of discounted electricity to industry and residents, its legal basis for implementation and enforcement would be discussed at any subsequent meeting. Paul, the planning officer with Mr. Fidler, had wanted reassurance that if Councillors accepted all this they'd be satisfied with the application.

Cllr. Gambba-Jones also looked meaningfully at Councillors, one or two of whom had seemed to be wavering in their support for the PREL application, but was very definite that if the commitment to discounted electricity did not materialise then the application would not go ahead.

He asked that anything that had not been understood be queried. Cllr. Grocock asked that the Officers give further reassurance about emissions

Our Parish Councillor

Cllr Brewis contribution to the 'debate' was that feedstock be imported in hermetically sealed lorries and that steps be taken to ensure that HGV's did not use shortcuts. By omission, he was therefore supportive of the PREL application. He could be seen abstaining presumably because there was no response to the need for hermetically sealed lorries.

NOTES

1. PREL & TRAFFIC MOVEMENT

2. WHAT IS PLANNING?


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Apr 12 2013

INCINERATOR NEWS!

The huge proposed Incinerator in Wingland, Sutton Bridge is to be considered by the Planning Committee at South Holland District Council on Wednesday 17th April at 6.30pm. The Campaign group BATI (Bridge Against the Incinerator) is asking residents to make a show of force at the meeting.

At stake, they say, are health issues from undisclosed emissions, decline in property prices, traffic chaos and the continuing likelihood of Sutton Bridge being a dump for unbridled industrial development.


RESULT OF PUBLIC POLL HELD ON 18/12/12

A Poll on the said question

Do you want a gasifier* on Wingland Site?

*FOR GASIFIER READ INCINERATOR

28 said YES / 470 said NO!

6% said YES / 94% said NO!

 

¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Nov 5 2012

There are many questions to be asked about Biomass Experiment.

Friends of the Earth—Scotland: There are numerous misconceptions surrounding this supposedly green alternative:-

Deforestation: A report has shown that Scotland will not be able to meet its increasing demand for wood. Yet by subsidising biomass, the Scottish government continues to promote the use of large-scale biomass for energy. Wood production is less than 0.5m tonnes per year in Scotland, yet the Forth Energy proposals will burn over 5.3m tonnes per year.

Air quality: Burning biomass releases large amounts of solid carbon combustion particles and gases into the air and there is uncertainty about the impact of these emissions on human health. The UK is currently failing to meet legally binding EU air quality standards in many areas, including in areas in Scotland where biomass plants are proposed.

Threatening plants and animals: Forests are the most complex ecosystems on Earth, home to a multitude of species of plants and animals. Due to deforestation across the planet many species are now extinct and others are endangered. With imports from biomass set to skyrocket to between 27-60m tonnes per year in the UK, it is highly likely that this will be an additional cause of deforestation and subsequent pressure on species living in native forests.

Inefficient power; Forth Energy's proposals are primarily intended to generate electricity. Biomass for electricity is incredibly inefficient and requires a lot of wood to produce a small amount of energy. It is estimated that the plants will be 30% efficient. This would be in breach of EU legal standards, which require 70% efficiency rates. Although Forth Energy promises to supply thermal energy as well as electrical energy, the proportion of heat proposed is small in relation to the proportion of electricity.

Our independently commissioned research shows that Scotland can meet 183% of its electricity needs through much greener sources such as wind and tidal energy, not inefficient biomass for electricity.


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Sept 28 2012

Sutton Bridge Parish Council and the Planning Application submitted by Energy Park Sutton Bridge Ltd

As detailed on this Website, Bridgewatch was formed in 2009 by a group of Sutton Bridge residents who were concerned specifically then about what they saw as undemocratic procedures in the conduct of a so-called 'consultation' process instigated without the knowledge of members of the Parish Council by Councillor Brewis to suit his own agenda whatever that might have been.

Soon afterwards PREL (now known as Eco Innovations) presented a 'Scoping and Screening Document' as a preliminary to presenting a Planning Application for the construction of an incinerator (or as they prefer to call it a 'gasifier'). It was sent to the then Planning Committee of the Parish Council for their comments; they passed it over without comment when a simple read of the 49 page document demonstrated that there were plenty of questions to be asked and comments to be made about innacuracies and vague statements.

The following list of issues and questions was sent to all councillors prior to the meeting on 25th September 2012 and it was suggested that the voters of Sutton Bridge might require that the Parish Council look properly at the proposed incinerator in some detail and not just opt for what some might say amounts to a community bribe and the obscure possibility of additional jobs for Sutton Bridge residents.

These are the issues:-

These are the questions:-

Since the time for getting answers to these questions is very limited, it was suggested that SHDC be asked to extend the consultation period so that proper democratic procedures can operate.

At the Parish Council meeting of 25th September 2012, scant regard was paid to either the issues or the questions and Councillor Brewis had, in a manner strangely reminiscent of his Road Enhancement Scheme 'consultation', pre-empted any discussion by announcing a public meeting on the subject which he would chair.

It has to be noted that Councillor Brewis has expressed the view that 'Biomass' developments are going up all over the place, so why not in Sutton Bridge. At the Annual Parish Meeting in April this year he and Councillor Booth were thanked by Helen Rome for distributing PREL leaflets. Since Mr Dewsberry ('Councillor') has already sent a letter in support of the PREL development, based solely on a visit he made to the PREL exhibition in Sutton Bridge, that makes three councillors who are blind to the issues and any questions that might be asked — they are already committed to the project.

Councillor Brewis is not a neutral party and should therefore not be allowed to chair a public meeting or even to take notes of the meeting.

Additionally, a 'public meeting' is not a Parish meeting and any Tom Dick and Harry could be invited to take part and therefore skew a Parish vote. It is the residents of Sutton Bridge and immediate surroundings who will be affected by any development, not lorry drivers from all over the country, as happened with the Road Enhancement Scheme 'consultation'. The meeting might also be packed with farmers for miles around who stand to gain from straw incineration.


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Sept 25 2012

Planning Application submitted by Energy Park Sutton Bridge Ltd

Energy Park Sutton Bridge Ltd, an associate company of Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited (PREL), have lodged a planning application with South Holland District Council for the proposed development of a renewable energy park to include process building, fuel storage, vehicle stores, administration building/visitors centre, hard standing areas, weighbridges, tank farm zones, roads, car parking spaces and associated hard and soft landscaping.  The full application can be seen on the South Holland District Council website – www.sholland.gov.uk under the Planning Application No. H18-0723-12.   Any comments for or against this proposal are to be made by 2nd October, 2012 to:-

Richard Fidler,
Development Manager,
South Holland District Council
Council Offices
Priory Road,
Spalding, Lincs.,
PE11 2XE

The promise of hundreds of jobs is made as an incentive to local residents to support the project, albeit that some of these jobs will only be short term during the construction stages, with not so many in the long term.

In the local press it states that this project could create 85 -100 jobs including scientists, chargehands, engineers and cleaners.  A further 150 could be employed indirectly connected to the project.  The question remains just how many jobs would be created.

It is alleged this enterprise will produce enough electricity to power 55,000 homes.  The production of this amount of energy does not come cheap as we are all paying more for our electricity to provide the subsidies for companies producing so called “green energy”.

At a recent presentation by PREL in Sutton Bridge, residents were assured that no HGV vehicles servicing the “energy park” would travel through the village.  The A17 road may bypass the village, but all the traffic has to flow over the swing bridge in single file frequently creating long tail backs in both directions. 

This year has seen an increased number of times the swing bridge has been open to allow shipping and pleasure craft on the River Nene through to (and from) the port at Wisbech.  With the bridge open for at least 15 minutes each time, this causes considerable delays to traffic to and from Norfolk. 

The holiday season, Easter to End September, sees a huge increase of caravans and coaches travelling in both directions on the A17.  From end September to March also sees a greater volume of HGV’s hauling tons of sugar beet harvested in Lincolnshire to the Wissington processing site in Norfolk.  All this extra volume of traffic increases the time taken to get from Sutton Bridge to our nearest A&E hospital at King’s Lynn, as well as our nearest train station.  Add into this the effect of the extra traffic that would be used to convey the building materials to construct the proposed “energy park” as well as the HGV vehicle expected at the “energy park” every four/five minutes.  Nor must we forget the number of large tractors moving food chain supplies also travelling along the A17 at a much slower speed than usual traffic.  The increase in fuel consumption and carbon footprints is increasing year on year.

We are also assured that pollution from the stacks will be minimal, but is it a proven fact that it will also be harmless?  Near a similar site in Nottingham, it is alleged that many people living near the site suffer from what is locally called the “Nottingham Cough”.  It has also been alleged that the smaller the microns of discharge from the chimneys – the more dangerous to the atmosphere they are.

The Sutton Bridge energy park project will have an affect on you, your children and your grandchildren. 


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Jun 21 2010

CREEPING INDUSTRIALISATION OF THE FENS

Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd (PREL) intends to mount an exhibition in the Constitutional Club in Sutton Bridge shortly. It will be sure to be a very well-organised display and there will be plenty of representatives to answer any questions you might have.

However, few residents of Sutton Bridge probably know that PREL intends to build a so-called ‘Energy Park’ in the area between Chalk Lane and the Power Station. Those who are aware seem to be under the misapprehension that the development will be for the disposal of household and garden waste.

This is not the case. PREL has said that their ‘gasification’ process will consume ‘pellets’ made from ‘biomass’ coming by lorry from the east and the west of Sutton Bridge and from wherever they can be obtained world-wide. Biomass is virgin wood or wood from sawmills and construction projects, purpose-grown crops and agricultural leftovers, surplus food material, from food and drink manufacture and consumption.

According to PREL, the gasification process will comply with the rigorous operational standards of the Waste Incineration Directive so that the environmental impact of ‘emissions’ from the burning of fuels will be minimised from chimneys designed to provide ‘effective dispersal’. This means that there will be chimneys and that they will somehow emit something that will not be very nice.

Contrary to what PREL have claimed, their Peterborough plant did not have the unqualified support of Friends of the Earth.

Concerned residents may wish to ask questions about possible 24-hour pollution created by the development—noise pollution, chemical pollution, light pollution, traffic pollution. Experience suggests that they will be diligently treated to technical and scientific explanations as to why there will be hardly any pollution; no ordinary person will be able to follow up the answers with further questions. You will be shown boxes of ‘pellets’ and compost that are intended to suggest how clean the whole operation is going to be.

Perhaps the only thing that residents will easily be able to understand is that the ‘Energy Park’ is capable of handling 350,000 tons of ‘waste’ material, or ‘feedstock’, a year. By PREL’s own calculations this means that there will be 80 deliveries a day (HGV & LGV) between 7am and 7pm. That’s one delivery every 9 minutes or one vehicle movement, in and out, every 4½ minutes. PREL have suggested that, though traffic lights might be needed at the junction of Centenary Way and the A17, the proposed development ‘is not expected to place a significant additional load on the existing road network...’. However, people who actually live in Sutton Bridge will easily be able to see that, what with traffic hold-ups, bridge closures, and holiday and rush-hour traffic, there is likely to be gridlock, not to mention the increased noise and pollution. And the HGV’s will not, of course, all go round the by-pass; unless an HGV ban is applied on Bridge Road there will be an increase of heavy traffic through the village, particularly if food waste comes from local food-processing plants.

Since waste will be coming from King’s Lynn direction, no doubt HGV’s, in order to avoid congestion, will soon begin to find their way down the old A17 Clenchwarton route. ‘Travel by water’ is quietly slipped into the Report as a possible alternative to road congestion. And as a way of importing waste from who knows where?

A proper full-scale traffic survey is urgently needed.

What with wind turbines, power stations, incinerators and ‘gasifiers’, the Fens are fast becoming the dumping ground for anything that others would find unpalatable.

In November the elected representatives on Sutton Bridge Parish Council saw no objections to the proposed ‘Energy Park’ nor did they have any comments to make. Were they speaking on your behalf? They certainly weren’t speaking for me.

What questions will you ask at the PREL exhibition?

Letter in Spalding Guardian 17th June 2010


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Jun 12 2010

INCINERATORS ARE NOT GOOD FOR US!

On Friday, June 18th, some members of Bridge Watch attended a public meeting in King’s Lynn called by KLWIN (Kings Lynn Without Incineration - www.klwin.org) concerning the proposed incinerator to be built at Saddlebow, Kings Lynn, near the Hardwicke Roundabout.

A detailed, scientific and economic presentation was given by Joel Hull, Project Director, Residual Waste Services, Norfolk County Council, who is in favour of this plan. Other speakers were Jon Beresford of NAiL (Nottingham Against Incineration and Landfill, who spoke about Eastgate plant, KLWN Borough Councillor, Paul Burrall, who opposed incinerators and Henry Bellingham (MP for King’s Lynn & West Norfolk). The meeting was chaired by Dr Ian Gibson. Members of the audience were citizens of King’s Lynn, the Borough Council, members of neighbouring parish councils and ordinary concerned members of the public of all ages.

We were, as usual, being blinded with science by people who wanted to appear to be open and transparent. The science is not sound nor proved, as an environmental consultant in the audience pointed out. It is driven by the need to meet targets.

The main two concerns were:

a) The size of nano particles present in emissions, no matter how effective the filters are said to be. It became increasingly clear that the smaller the particles, the more potentially invasive they are;

b) The obvious increase in heavy traffic movements, which as we already know, are currently among the biggest air polluters.

Both issues concern people’s health: there is already a condition known as the ‘Eastgate cough’ affecting people in the Nottingham areas downwind of the Eastgate plant.
The second is also about health implications, and the mayhem caused by increased volumes of HGV traffic going to and from the proposed plant in King’s Lynn which may very well meet similar traffic coming to and from the Sutton Bridge proposed ‘Energy park’. Both the Hardwicke roundabout and the Cross Keys bridge would become a nightmare for local road users. No amount of traffic enhancement schemes would alleviate the potential chaos this would cause.

In addition, not only are there to be lorry movements in and out of the plant bringing in material, but special enclosed containers will be needed to transport the potentially hazardous bi-products (fly ash) which may be recycled as building materials.

Residents of Sutton Bridge and its surrounding area need to be aware that although PREL’s ‘clean biomass gasifier’ proposed for Sutton Bridge will not be burning waste from plastic bags, there will be emissions and there will be heavy lorry movements.

One important point that emerged from the Meeting was that any form of incineration is not really viable. We do not need to burn rubbish of any kind. It can be, and should be, re-used and recycled. Our demands for energy should be reduced. If more and more incinerators are built, then all the stuff we are currently being urged to recycle will be re-channelled to be burnt in incinerators, that will have contracts of 25 years and more.

The suggestion was that the contract for an incinerator (if it must be built) should only be for 10 years because the technology moves on swiftly. Developers would be less inclined to update if their contracts were for 25 years, or 60 years in the case of Nottingham’s Eastgate plant, where there have already been many lapses in emission control. Monitoring is not effective: one or two spot checks a year (and visits known in advance) is not sufficient to pick up the variations in emissions.

The real issue is the rate at which the civilised world is using limited raw materials as though they were infinite. The fact is that it is predicted that they will be used up by 2040. Unless we curtail their use, the world economy will grind to a halt then.
We should be encouraged to mend, re-use and recycle.

It is worth looking at KWLIN’s website; www.klwin.org for informed arguments.


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦

Feb 22 2010

Biomass and Subsidies

There was a report in the Times of 21st February containing a threat from Drax, whose coal-fired power station near Selby is the biggest polluter in western Europe, to take their proposal to work with ‘biomass’ as a ‘green energy plant’ abroad where regulatory regimes are not so robust.

One of the key points in the report is that incinerating biomass is not economical without heavy subsidy. Any subsidy could be cut after four years.

There’s the standard claim that new power plants would provide jobs for local people; thus, if subsidies are not forthcoming, the government will get the blame for not allowing Drax to employ people.

A spokesperson for Drax said that, without their being able to rely on subsidies, ‘the investment was unjustifiable’—that is to say that they would not be able to make enough profit out of the tax-payer. They would not ‘be able to make a viable business case to our investors...’

It seems that ‘Industry experts have questioned whether the plan is achievable even with subsidies. The [Drax proposed] plants... would have to be fed by a steady stream of cargo ships loaded with trees from as far away as Canada...’

From what far-flung places would Sutton Bridge PREL have to get their ‘feed-stock’? What would their carbon footprint be?

The whole question of emissions and likely traffic chaos is likely to get buried under an argument about subsidies.


The Proposed 'Energy Park' Complex at Sutton Bridge

This paper is a digest of a 39-page statement intended to determine whether a full-scale Environmental Impact Assessment (an EIA) is necessary. The statement (or ‘Opinion’) dated September 2009 was prepared by Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited to support their planning application for the building of an ‘Energy Park’. .

A commentary is printed in italics. All residents of Sutton Bridge and sparsely populated surrounding areas should take account of the contents and ask searching questions of their elected representatives.

Sutton Bridge power stationVia its subsidiary EnergyPark Sutton Bridge Limited, Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited (PREL) proposes to develop a Renewable EnergyPark on land adjacent to Centenary Way, near to the Power Station. Its stated function will be to recover energy from a range of biomass materials from a variety of sources.

‘Biomass’ is animal and vegetable material. Typical ‘biomass fuels’ that PREL anticipates transporting to its EnergyPark for processing are these: virgin wood or wood from sawmills and construction projects, crops grown specifically and agricultural leftovers, surplus food material, from food and drink manufacture and consumption.

The EnergyPark requires planning permission. PREL has issued a document which, though rather confusing, seems very reasonable in its approach but fundamentally attempts to state a case for avoiding the additional need for an EIA which could scupper the whole thing.

There is plenty of evidence that suggests that these kinds of developments are forced through against strong public opposition. Source: www.ukwin.org.uk

Hidden deep in the text, there is the suggestion that the development could be classed as a ‘smaller conventional power station’ which would not require an EIA. They ask for comments that will ‘assist with defining the scope of an environmental assessment that will support’ their planning application. This will be their very own assessment ...

utton Bridge power stationThe proposed site is described as ‘an expanse of flat former arable land... of no conservation importance... located approximately 1.5km south-east of Sutton Bridge, a small community of approximately 4,000 residents.

Is the implication here that a mere 4,000 residents are negligible in the scheme of things?

The proposed site is bounded to the west, south and east by the Centenary Way and to the north by Chalk Lane. Chalk Lane runs immediately parallel to the A 17 and both the aforementioned roads are afforded access off the trunk road...’ PREL say that, though there are a few residential properties nearby the area is already industrialised...

So one more bit of industrialisation won’t make much difference. It is also pointed out that the River Nene is handy—perhaps as a way of importing waste from all over the world when the home-grown product dries up...

‘...The remaining areas surrounding the site are predominantly agricultural (mainly pasture [?], with some arable land) and isolated pockets of woodland...’

Are these of no particular significance to PREL? One has to wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the Report when it is reported that the areas round the site are ‘mainly pasture’—where are all the cows and sheep in the area round Sutton Bridge?

The Report continues. The development site occupies an area of approximately 64 acres. There will be process buildings, fuel storage, ancillary buildings, hardstanding, roadways and car parking spaces.

Sutton Bridge Energy Park proposed location

Potential incentives are listed. The main one being the setting up of a £300,000 annual community fund ‘to support community cohesion and education within the locale’... (whatever that means...)

Then there’s the promise that, apart from converting of energy into electricity for the National Grid, it will go to ‘local neighbours where a private network exists...’

Sounds like Sutton Bridge will benefit from cheap electricity—but only if you’ve got a ‘private network’, whatever that might be. A spokesperson has indicated that this means new industry close to the site...

‘Heat from the operation will be used within the facility and the ancillary buildings, whilst off-take points will be provided for future combined heat and power needs in the area...’

The local population will think it’s going to benefit—highly unlikely...

‘The location of the plant alongside an existing industrial estate and proximate to an area proposed for future industrial expansion makes the realisation of the potential for combined heat and power more likely than in other possible locations...’

Sounds good but what does it mean?

Then there’s the possibility of converting ‘waste’ heat into a cold storage facility which would ‘help facilitate further economic growth in the South Holland area...’ And, of course, as with the Power Station, there’s the creation of employment. The proposed development will help with the infrastructure of the Wingland Industrial Area (or ‘Enterprise Park’), electricity, water & sewage, lack of which has meant that it has hitherto been slow to develop, so we are told. It might even be that the plant will be able to change sea-water into drinkable water...

A big advantage in favour of the chosen site is considered to be that there is space for expansion of the ‘Energy Park’.

The space for expansion is about the same size as that designated for the current proposed development. Further development into this area would, of course, double the amount of emissions and transport movement.

The assertion that there is a ‘good transportation network’ is contradicted later with the statement that there are ‘uncertainties about highway capacity’...

Cross Keys Bridge on the A17 road at Sutton BridgeHas the writer of the Report ever stood on the A17 on a summer Saturday morning or at a time when the bridge is opened to shipping?

This consideration is rather important when you know that the ‘Energy Park’ is capable of handling 350,000 tons of ‘waste’ material (called ‘feedstock’ to make it sound grand) per annum.

Consider! By our calculations, that’s 960 tons a day which might come in 30-ton HGV’s. That’s 32 deliveries a day; 3 deliveries every hour; 1 every 20 minutes = an HGV movement (in/out) every ten minutes. What with traffic hold-ups, bridge closures, and holiday and rush-hour traffic, average HGV movement is very unlikely to be maintained with that degree of regularity. There is likely to be gridlock, not to mention the noise and pollution. And the HGV’s will not, of course, all go round the by-pass; unless an HGV ban is applied on Bridge Road there will be an increase of heavy traffic through the village, particularly if food waste comes from Premier Foods.

Now, after this rather conservative estimate, elsewhere in the Report it suggests that there will be 80 deliveries a day (HGV & LGV) when/if the site becomes operational. That’s one delivery every 9 minutes or one vehicle movement every 4½ minutes. The Report rather optimistically concludes that, though traffic lights might be needed at the junction of Centenary Way and the A17, the proposed development ‘is not expected to place a significant additional load on the existing road network...’.

There is no reference in the PREL document to listed buildings. There are several in Sutton Bridge, the most significant being the bridge itself; with the huge extra volume of traffic the bridge will obviously suffer increasingly from wear and tear and pollution.

The document proposes a traffic survey by South Holland District Council but such a survey would be the responsibility of LCC Highways: have they even been informed of the need for this?

‘Travel by water’ is quietly slipped into the Report as a possible alternative to road congestion. And as a way of importing waste from who knows where? It seems that developers tend to exaggerate the amount of future quantities of waste in order to boost their proposals. Source www.ukwin.org.uk

Then of course there’s the processing of the biomass itself. The biomass fuels to be burned are not classified as waste (thought the Report sometimes slips into referring to it thus) but PREL say that the combustion units are, of course, designed to comply with the rigorous operational standards of the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) so that the environmental impact of ‘emissions’ from the burning of fuels will be minimised from a chimney designed to provide ‘effective dispersal’.

Minimised but not entirely eliminated. Just cleaned up by what’s described as a ‘sophisticated pollution control system’... Incidentally, later they refer to chimneys—in the plural...

Other research suggests that ‘although incinerator fumes pass through expensive filter systems, modern incinerators still emit significant levels of... ultrafine particles... Source www.ukwin.org.uk

The PREL document skims over the environmental impact. Natural England and others will want to make sure that an EIA takes place and it is to be hoped that any EIA will look at everything far more thoroughly than a developer with a vested interest might.

The Report suggests that the proposed building that will house the EnergyPark development has been designed in order to mitigate its visual impact—its height will be around 22 metres and there will be new tree planting between it and the nearest dwellings. The building design is ‘innovative and represents an opportunity for the creation of a ‘landmark’ building...’

utton Bridge power stationAnother problem associated with the visual impact of the site is the height of the chimneys of the biomass combustion plants: ‘to ensure effective dispersal of pollutants’ the chimneys need to be as high as possible but they will be designed to look more like part of the structure of the building than chimneys. A height of 35 metres is suggested.

It is difficult to imagine how the operational impact of the proposed development could be mitigated—even with so-called ‘acoustic enclosures’ — what kind of barrier can be set up against the combined noise of vehicle engines, extractor fans, cooling tower fans, turbines, machines for processing the waste material [sic], to say nothing of light pollution from 24/7 working? Of all this, the Report asserts that ‘a detailed assessment is not considered appropriate...’

Why? The residents might have something to say about this.

There will also be ‘fugitive dust emissions...’; any ‘fugitive odours’ will be ‘abated by the combustion process and discharged from the chimney...’ So there will be both but from a chimney... The Report blithely states that ‘it is considered that an assessment of the levels of dust, vibration and odour are unlikely to be required...’

The proposed development, being on land adjacent to the Sutton Bridge gas-fired power station, will, the Report suggests, raise the following problem: ‘there may be issues associated with the cumulative impact of emissions to atmosphere from the two facilities...’

It’s all too clear from this that there are emissions from the power station and that there will be emissions from the gasifier in the proposed plant.

The Report suggests that, although ‘emission’ is likely to ‘be perceived as an important issue, particularly by members of the general public’, anything to do with pollution and nuisance are not applicable to the proposed development. It seems that Best Available Techniques (BAT) to the design of the development will ‘minimise the risk of causing nuisance complaints within the surrounding community...’

BAT may be the ‘best’ there are but are they good enough if they only minimise the risk of complaints? What about actual pollution?

The risk of pollution is about the public ‘perception of the issue rather than the actual significance of the magnitude of dioxin release...’

Whatever the ‘significance of the magnitude’, the WHO classifies dioxin as a known human carcinogen—cancer-forming agent. That is certainly not public perception.

It seems that the emission of dioxins is not monitored in the UK during start-up and close-down when high levels are emitted. Source: www.ukwin.org.uk

The same source points out that ‘5-7% of the mass of incinerated waste becomes ‘fly ash’... which is trapped by filters and classed a hazardous waste. Because fly ash is ... high in dioxins and heavy metals, it has to be transferred to landfill...’

It is reported that at a site in Gloucestershire ‘the residents literally see the ash blowing around...’ Can PREL tell us how this will be prevented in Sutton Bridge?

Back to the Report. The Wash Ramsar Site, SPA and SAC is located within 5km of the development site and is therefore potentially at risk from emissions from the biomass combustion process. ‘However, in view of the significant distances involved and the closely regulated emissions from the biomass combustion process’, everything will be fine and dandy.

It is clear that density of human habitation is an issue for PREL—how many people are there in the vicinity whose health may be affected by emissions? How many people will protest?

The Report says that the nearest large centre of habitation is Kings Lynn—8 miles away. The nearest ‘residential receptors’ (i.e. houses) are on the outskirts of Sutton Bridge - 0.4km to the north-west of the site... ‘with individual properties and farms located interspersed throughout the surrounding area. It is considered that emissions... are unlikely to have a significant impact on the health of residents in the locality...’

Is this not a rather strange logic? Because houses and farms are scattered the health of the people living in them won’t be significantly affected? Employing the same logic, in Sutton Bridge where people live closely together the health of residents is likely to be far more significantly affected! As will house prices which the Report does not mention.

If the ‘Energy Park’ is built, it will be difficult to effect any changes to its operation.


www.ukwin.org.uk is the Website of UK Without Incineration Network. All its findings are well-researched.


Contrary to the impression generated by the newspapers, who like a story, Bridge Watch is not a campaigning group. Its stated aim is to make sure that the Parish Council considers all factors in relation to any issue it discusses. Consequently we are pleased that John Dickie of PREL has responded to the analysis of their planning document so that residents of Sutton Bridge can make up their own mind.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL PREL RESPONSE


¦ ⇑ Back to top of page ⇑ ¦