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Fenland Council admits ‘it’s the end of the road and we know it’ after failed legal challenge to £450m Wisbech incinerator

‘No further realistic grounds to oppose incinerator decision’

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Fenland Council admitted today that legal advice “was very clear that there are no further realistic grounds to oppose the incinerator decision with a judicial review”. It means opposition to the £450m energy from waste incinerator in Wisbech will switch to ensuring “that the effects of the incinerator are minimised to the greatest possible degree”.

There was no mention of any role Steve Barclay, re elected as Conservative MP for NE Cambs, might or could have played in continuing to oppose the incinerator.

A statement from Fenland Council said a High Court judge had “sadly refused” its bid for a judicial review of the decision to award planning permission for the Medworth Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power Facility at Algores Way, Wisbech.

“Deeply disappointed with this decision, the council sought further advice of experienced King’s Counsel barristers and considered all options available to them,” said the statement.

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Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero (right), agreed a £450m incinerator for Wisbech (outline drawing above) but 24 hours later it was withdrawn for “clarification” of her decision.

Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero (right), agreed a £450m incinerator for Wisbech (outline drawing above) but 24 hours later it was withdrawn for “clarification” of her decision. Shortly after that it was again agreed.

“The legal advice was very clear that there are no further realistic grounds to oppose the incinerator decision with a judicial review.”

“Therefore, after much reflection and difficult discussions, the council has resolved that although entirely justified to challenge the case to this point, the prospect of overturning the judge’s decision is not realistically possible.”

Council leader Chris Boden felt the council “was clearly justified in pursuing an application for judicial review.  It was a decision we took knowing the majority of the public also expected us to fight to the end.

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“It is with great sadness that our application for judicial review was refused.

“We understand that this outcome will be disappointing to many of our residents who supported the judicial review and the fight against the incinerator.”

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He pledged that the Tory controlled council would “continue to seek alternative avenues to address the concerns raised.

“We will work tirelessly throughout the development consent process to ensure that our community’s voices are heard and that the effects of the incinerator are minimised to the greatest possible degree”.

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Medworth EfW CHP Facility will recover useful energy in the form of electricity and steam from over half a million tonnes of non-recyclable municipal (household), commercial and industrial waste each year. “It has a generating capacity of over 50 megawatts; the steam and electricity can be used locally, and excess electricity will be exported to the grid.”

Medworth EfW CHP Facility will recover useful energy in the form of electricity and steam from over half a million tonnes of non-recyclable municipal (household), commercial and industrial waste each year.
“It has a generating capacity of over 50 megawatts; the steam and electricity can be used locally, and excess electricity will be exported to the grid.”

The Medworth Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power Facility was granted permission by the Secretary of State in February 2024.

The same month the council instructed advisers to examine the possibility of a legal challenge.

“The council challenge was merited as the judge, in considering the council’s application for judicial review, found multiple deficiencies in the Secretary of State’s decision,” said the council statement.

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“However, none of these deficiencies was considered to be so significant that the application for judicial review was permitted to proceed.”

 

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