The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Covanta: Environment Agency Consultation Closing Soon
Posted Friday, 3 November 2017 at 11:19

Despite my lengthy and hard fought campaign, in 2013 planning permission was given for the Covanta energy from waste incinerator at Rookery Pit in Stewartby. However, to actually run the plant Covanta must have an operating permit from the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency’s second consultation period closes soon and it is vital that as many constituents as possible object to the granting of an operating permit. As well as numbers, the objections have to be tailored to the remit of the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency is only concerned with the actual running of the plant and any emissions or harm to the environment or people that comes from the actual installation itself. The EA needs to make sure that a permit will ensure a high level of protection is provided for the environment and human health.

Other important issues such as landscape and visual impact, or traffic movements to and from the plant, were considered as part of the Development Consent Order process some years ago. They are not part of the remit of the Environment Agency and will not be considered by them.

The EA have already held one round of public consultation, which generated a very high level of interest and public responses. The EA are now minded to grant a permit, subject to a number of conditions, and are now holding a second round of consultation on this draft decision. This closes on the 7th of November.

Here’s the link:

The most important thing you can do is respond to the consultation to show the high level of public interest and concern.  If you wish to object to a permit being granted, the types of comments you might like to make could include;

There are too many areas of uncertainty for the Environment Agency to be able to issue an operating permit with confidence. For example
Worries about the effect of temperature inversions on the safe dispersal of emissions.

Concerns about nano-particle emission, especially as there is no method at present of continuously monitoring the level of nano-particles in the environment. Nor is there a safe emission limit set.

Concerns about Covanta’s operating record in other parts of the world. For example, just this year in Dublin 11 people were hospitalised after a lime spill at Covanta’s plant.

Worries that the population in the Borough and the Marston Vale has grown substantially since planning permission was granted initially 6 years ago. Things have changed locally, and the EA consultation process has not taken enough account of this – by not being sufficiently accessible or well enough advertised. Many local people are confused by the planning/permitting process. Much better community engagement is needed.

The Development Consent Order was first issued 6 years ago, based on many studies that are now out of date. The Environment Agency should insist that new environmental studies are carried out, and the permitting process based on those.

Finally, one good thing:

There are worries about dust contamination from the bottom ash storage. The draft permit requires Covanta to store bottom ash in a covered building. This is very welcome and should be supported.

If you do not submit an objection to the Environment Agency, please don’t complain to me when a permit is granted!

Please do not leave this to your neighbour, as your neighbour will be leaving it to you!

Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Telephone: 020 7219 5928

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