Claire Coutinho, appointed today as Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), replacing Grant Shapps, will decide if a £300m incinerator can be built at Wisbech.
“I will work with the Prime Minister to safeguard our energy security, reduce bills for families, and build cleaner, cheaper, homegrown energy,” she said.
The 3,200 members of campaign group Wisbech Without Incineration (WisWIN) set up to oppose the incinerator will have their fingers crossed she decides in their day favour.
By November 21, it was also revealed today, the Government’s Planning Inspectorate says is their deadline for recommending to the Secretary of State their view on the incinerator.
Ms Coutinho was appointed to her new role during a cabinet reshuffle that saw Shapps move to become Defence Secretary following the resignation of Ben Wallace.
Medworth CHP Limited’s application for an Order Granting Development Consent for the Medworth Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power Facility is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
The decision on whether the application is approved will be based on a recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate – an executive agency sponsored by central Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
This decision now rests with the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.
If approved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste from across East Anglia could be burned in the incinerator which Medworth CHP Ltd want to build on Algores Way, Wisbech.
It would be one of the biggest waste-to-energy incinerator in Europe.
Opposition to the incinerator has come from all quarters, including MP Steve Barclay and Fenland District Council.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Fenland District Council fundamentally oppose this incinerator application and we are utilising any and all legal avenues and processes available to continue to fight on behalf of the residents of Wisbech and Fenland as a whole.”
MP Steve Barclay says: “Many have joined me is campaigning against these proposals as a wholly unsuitable place for a waste facility.
“I am concerned about the increased lorries and impact on health, traffic and the environment.”
He described the proposals as “flawed” and gave evidence to public hearings by the Planning Inspectorate.
Mr Barclay says: “When I first heard about proposals to build an enormous incinerator in Wisbech, I thought the developers couldn’t possibly be serious because it was such an inappropriate place to site a waste facility.”
At one stage he delivered a local opposition petition with over 77 pages and more than 3000 signatures to the Wisbech incinerator developer when he visited their public consultation at the Rosmini Centre, Wisbech.
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