Connect with us

News

Minister’s red-carpet welcome for German energy firm – 24 hours before approval of £450m incinerator for Wisbech

Ginny Bucknor of Wisbech Without Incineration ‘shocked’ and disgusted’ by timing of minister’s meeting

Avatar photo

Published

on

Campaigners against a £450m incinerator at Wisbech reacted with astonishment today after it was revealed that the German company behind it were entertained in Westminster 24 hours earlier by the Government minister for investment. Posting a photo of their meeting, Lord Dominic Johnson, Minister for Investment at the Department for Business and Trade, met with MVV Energie AG, the German company responsible for the Wisbech scheme.

“From Plymouth to Dundee to Kent, MVV Energie AG is an energy company with a strong presence across the UK,” wrote Lord Johnson.

That was on February 19 – the following day Energy secretary Claire Coutinho gave MVV Environment – a UK subsidiary of MV Energie – planning permission to build the Medworth incinerator on a 13-acre site off Algores Way, Wisbech.

In a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn, Lord Johnson said: “Paul Carey (managing director of MWW Environment) and Dr Hansjorg Roll (chief technology officer for MVV Energie) are valued investors in the UK, and I was delighted to speak to them about their business and future opportunities which can greatly benefit the UK’s current net zero climate aim.”

The minister added: “The UK is one of the best destinations in the world to invest in and we welcome green investment to make our country more energy efficient.”

Lord Johnson, a prominent Conservative Party donor, was given a lifetime peerage in 2022 by Prime Minister Liz Truss to enable him to become an investment minister.

Ironically, he only lasted 26 days after Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister and removed him.

Last February, however, he returned to Government following his appointment as Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade.

Dr Roll was responsible for the construction of English power stations for MVV – in Plymouth and Ridham Dock, Kent which went into operation in 2015, and incinerates around 172,000 tonnes of waste and non-recyclable timber a year and feeds almost 188 million kilowatt hours of electricity into the national grid.

 

But at Wisbech the proposals by MVV would result in one of the biggest plants of its kind in Europe, creating the capacity to burn more than 600,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Lord Dominic Johnson, the Government investment minister (right) greeting (left) Paul Carey (managing director of MWW Environment) and Dr Hansjorg Roll (chief technology officer for MVV Energie) at Westminster. “I was delighted to speak to them about their business and future opportunities which can greatly benefit the UK’s current net zero climate aim,” said Lord Johnson.

Lord Dominic Johnson, the Government investment minister (right) greeting (left) Paul Carey (managing director of MWW Environment) and Dr Hansjorg Roll (chief technology officer for MVV Energie) at Westminster. “I was delighted to speak to them about their business and future opportunities which can greatly benefit the UK’s current net zero climate aim,” said Lord Johnson.

Ginny Bucknor, the WisWIN (Wisbech Without Incineration) campaign lead, said today she was “shocked and disgusted” that a Government minister met the applicants for the incinerator on the eve of the decision being made.

Mrs Bucknor, says the decision to grant permission to MVV, had left her stunned and bewildered and she has again written to MP Steve Barclay for answers. She is not hopeful of a reply having written multiple times to him without, as she says, much success.

But the battle is not over, despite Mr Carey posting to Lord Johnson’s LinkedIn on February 21 that “we are very happy to have received approval for our Medworth DCO (development consent order, issued yesterday 20th February.

“It represents a significant investment opportunity for MVV”.

But in a move described as unprecedented in Government circles, the development consent order for the Medworth incinerator was withdrawn – for “clarification” – within 24 hours of it being published.

At the very least it will give those campaigning against it more time to prepare for a time consuming, and costly, judicial review.

Mr Bucknor says there is a statutory six-week window to seek a judicial review but that cannot now begin until the development consent order returns to the Planning Inspectorate website.

MVV Energie website has pulled news of their 'success' at Wisbech

MVV Energie website has also pulled news of their ‘success’ at Wisbech

She has invited Fenland District Council to use WisWIN’s expertise, gained over many years, to prepare for a judicial review which will debated on Monday following a late motion from Wisbech councillor Steve Tierney.

Mrs Bucknor said national campaign groups were on board and with the experience gained, they could play a vital role in shaping any response Fenland Council might decide to make.

And she said WisWIN supporters had been quick to respond with offers of financial support – “one of our members has already offered £2,000 if a GoFundMe campaign gets under way”.

One complication facing MVV is the lack of an environmental permit, and this has yet to be issued. Earlier this week the Environment Agency, on February 22, closed its consultation period for objections and with these numbering well into three figures it will take time to go through the objectors.

Initially it was felt the sudden withdrawal of the development consent order was linked to the lack of an environmental permit, but I am told this is not unusual – although construction of the incinerator cannot go ahead without it, the common practice is for these to be determined separately and independently.

Earlier this year the Environment Agency said it was “minded” to agree the Medworth plans but it will need, ironically, final approval from the Government minister who is Mr Barclay!

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency told the BBC: “Our environmental permit is issued separately to the Planning Inspectorate issuing their own decision.”

“While the Planning Inspectorate has now made its decision, if our previous consultations had shown we were unlikely to have issued a permit, we would have made this clear in the planning process.

“The result of our consultation will be confirmed in due course.”

Meanwhile Mrs Bucknor has widened her appeal to encourage all anti incinerator protestors to write to their local MP.

“Sorry to ask you all again, but would you please write to your MP,” she urged today on the WisWIN Facebook group.

“We really need answers. I think if lots of others also write, we may get a response. Steve Barclay’s email: stephen.barclay.mp@parliament.uk

“I wrote to his office today. I assume Steve is investigating why the development consent order has been pulled. Can he let us know what he is doing please?”

And she ended by querying whether Mr Barclay was aware of the visit to Parliament by MVV Energies bosses.

Mr Carey remains “clearly very pleased” the plans had been approved and he expects to begin building the new plant next year.

Meanwhile his German bosses have paused celebrations: their website has also taken down news of the development consent order for Medworth being granted.

 

FACT FILE

Lord Dominic Johnson is Minister for Investment and Exports at the Department for Business and Trade.

He joined Government in October 2022. Before taking on this role be founded Somerset Capital Management LLP in 2007 and was the firm’s Chief Executive Officer from 2009 to 2022. His co-founder at Somerset Capital was ex Brexit Opportunities Minister and Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.

He is a former Conservative councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and once loaned a Chelsea house to David (Lord) Cameron after he had stood down as prime minister.

Lord Johnson has also been involved in the row over the possible purchase by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of the Daily Telegraph.

He is quoted as having described the UAE as a “first-class and extremely well-run country.”

Lord Johnson was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party between 2016 and 2019, and in the past decade has donated more than £250,000 to the party.

 

Facebook

Read More

Florin Buti, 19, of Ridgwell Road, London, denied rape and fraud by false representation, but he was found guilty following a trial at Peterborough Crown Court Florin Buti, 19, of Ridgwell Road, London, denied rape and fraud by false representation, but he was found guilty following a trial at Peterborough Crown Court
News41 mins ago

Three men jailed for total of more than 28 years for raping woman in Cambridge

'Buti and the other defendants in this case clearly went looking for a woman to attack'

Running between Friday 19th April until Thursday 25th April, special screenings will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Luxe cinema, Wisbech Running between Friday 19th April until Thursday 25th April, special screenings will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Luxe cinema, Wisbech
News1 hour ago

The Luxe Wisbech: 15 Years of Movie Magic!

We have always seen ourselves as part of the heart of the town

MP Steve Barclay visits Whittlesey to promote election prospects for police and crime commissioner Darryl Preston and a local Conservative by election candidate. Videos made by Mr Barclay were ordered to be removed from a town council Facebook page MP Steve Barclay visits Whittlesey to promote election prospects for police and crime commissioner Darryl Preston and a local Conservative by election candidate. Videos made by Mr Barclay were ordered to be removed from a town council Facebook page
News18 hours ago

SPECIAL REPORT: Fenland Council orders MP Steve Barclay’s videos to be removed from Whittlesey Town Council Facebook page

'I have also requested that any reference to Whittlesey Town Council is removed'

The School for Scandal is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, April 13 then touring The School for Scandal is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, April 13 then touring
News2 days ago

REVIEW: ‘Immaculate performances’ in The School for Scandal at Cambridge Arts Theatre

The School for Scandal is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, April 13

A 33-year-old man from Huntingdon has now been arrested on suspicion of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. A 33-year-old man from Huntingdon has now been arrested on suspicion of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Crime2 days ago

Police arrest man who allegedly brandished imitation firearm in Huntingdon

'At about 7pm a man produced the firearm and pointed it at someone'

Whitemoor Prison, March, Cambridgeshire, where forensics experts are looking for DNA and other evidence after a prison officer was seriously assaulted. PHOTO: Bav Media Whitemoor Prison, March, Cambridgeshire, where forensics experts are looking for DNA and other evidence after a prison officer was seriously assaulted. PHOTO: Bav Media
News2 days ago

GoFundMe appeal to help family of prisoner officer seriously injured by Whitemoor inmate

As a result of being assaulted, he has spent almost 3.5 weeks in intensive care

The Combined Authority, which is responsible for transport across the region, has awarded a contract to A2B, a local and experienced bus operator The Combined Authority, which is responsible for transport across the region, has awarded a contract to A2B, a local and experienced bus operator
News3 days ago

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson saves Littleport to Cambridge bus route

Combined Authority acts quickly to plug the gaps left by Stagecoach

Simon Brignell will be contesting Cambridge's Abbey ward for the Communist Party which is campaigning with the slogan ‘Shake up the City Council, put a communist in the Guildhall! For Peace & Socialism!’ Simon Brignell will be contesting Cambridge's Abbey ward for the Communist Party which is campaigning with the slogan ‘Shake up the City Council, put a communist in the Guildhall! For Peace & Socialism!’
News3 days ago

OPINION: Why I am standing for the Communist Party for Abbey Ward in Cambridge.

'The policies of the ultra-wealthy are being imposed upon us from the top down'

Peter Baxter says little or nothing is being done to improve the A605 through Whittlesey Peter Baxter says little or nothing is being done to improve the A605 through Whittlesey
News3 days ago

OPINION: This make and mend road is a vital link and even in its third world state it’s all we have! 

Whittlesey needs to rethink its relationship with motorised transport

Larry Connors was eventually arrested in June last year while having his hair cut at a barber’s shop in Radcliffe on Trent, Nottinghamshire. Larry Connors was eventually arrested in June last year while having his hair cut at a barber’s shop in Radcliffe on Trent, Nottinghamshire.
Crime3 days ago

Police hunt for prolific burglar ends in a barber’s shop

In 2021 he struck in Cambridgeshire at a house in Bentley Road, Cambridge