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Tory councillor warns of ‘dark day for Wisbech’ after MP Steve Barclay fails to halt Wisbech incinerator

Tory councillor ‘ashamed that the Government felt this was the right result’

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MP Steve Barclay could find his massive majority under threat after today’s decision by his Government to allow a mega incinerator to be built in Wisbech. Even his most ardent Conservative Party supporters lashed out at the decision – one calling it “a dark day for Wisbech”.

Although Mr Barclay fought hard to stop the incinerator, and despite being a Cabinet member, his influence did not extend to stop permission being given.

Councillors said they were united with residents and representatives across Cambridgeshire and Norfolk in disappointment and “disgust” that the proposal for the incinerator in the Medworth ward of Wisbech given permission by the Secretary of State.

Campaigner Ginny Bucknor rallied, campaigned, and fought with her group WisWIN – Wisbech Without Incineration – to halt the project. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Campaigner Ginny Bucknor rallied, campaigned, and fought with her group WisWIN – Wisbech Without Incineration – to halt the project. PHOTO: Terry Harris

Medworth CHP Ltd applied for planning permission to create an energy from waste combined heat and power facility, capable of generating over 50 megawatts of electricity, in July 2022.

Its proposals covered land on the Algores Industrial Estate in Wisbech, as well as a grid connection at the Walsoken Substation.

Owing to the size and significance of the proposed development, the Planning Inspectorate, rather than any local authority, examined the application and made its recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero Clare Coutinho MP who has made the decision to approve the proposal.

The project was opposed by Fenland District Council, Wisbech Town Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Norfolk County Council, and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, as well as hundreds of local residents and the local action groups – principally WisWIN – because of the scale of the development and potential negative impacts on residents.

Wisbech says NO to incinerator. Mayor Nik Johnson addressed a rally in Market Place, Wisbech
Sunday 27 June 2021.
Picture by Terry Harris.

In representations at the public inquiry earlier in the year, Fenland District Council, together with Cambridgeshire County Council, highlighted the impact of the suggested development on the landscape, emissions, and transport links in and around Wisbech.

Cllr Dee Laws, Fenland District Council portfolio holder for planning, said: “Today’s decision is a huge disappointment to all of us who opposed this development.

“Fenland District Council worked closely with residents and partner organisations to demonstrate to the Planning Inspectorate and Secretary of State why this development was wrong for our residents, businesses, and those in the wider area.

“Very sadly, the local voice has not been heard.

“Going forward we will do everything in our power to ensure the negative impact is minimised and to secure what benefits we can for our residents.”

Cllr Steve Tierney, district councillor for Wisbech South, said: “It is a dark day for Wisbech. The Government and its representatives have let us down, democracy has been ignored in favour of corporate interests.

WisWIN took their protest to Parliament and to meet MP Steve Barclay

WisWIN took their protest to Parliament and to meet MP Steve Barclay

“I personally feel depressed at this outcome and ashamed that the Government felt this was the right result. We did not deserve this. I’m disgusted.”

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk branch of Extinct Rebellion advised “direct action” to halt the incinerator.

“Disrupt the project at every level which will balloon costs and force them to abandon the project,” they said in a social media post.

 

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