This week, the Planning Inspectorate published its opinion on the scope of the environmental statement being prepared for the proposed 53 megawatt equivalent (MWe) Medworth Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power Facility on the Algores Way industrial estate in Wisbech. If granted planning permission, the plant would be able to burn over half-a-million tonnes of household and commercial waste each year, according to developers MVV Environment.
The project is being decided via the fast-track Planning Act 2008 regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects.
Planning Act 2008
06 Apr 2016
Environmental consultancy Wood, which is preparing the environmental statement on behalf of MVV Environment, had sought to scope out from the environmental statement the need to assess how the plant would cope with future weather extremes brought about by climate change.
But the inspectorate disagreed, insisting that the developer’s environmental statement should include an assessment of the likely significant effects that changes in rainfall, flood risk, temperature, humidity and wind speed, would create over the lifespan of the plant (estimated to be around 40 years). This should be done with reference to the Met Office’s latest UKCP18 – the most up-to-date assessment of the effects of climate change in the UK – the inspectorate’s scoping opinion said.
Within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and their surrounding counties, around 2.5m tonnes of residual waste was landfilled in 2017, according to Wood's scoping report. While the consultants said this justified the need for the plant, an assessment of the climate effects brought about by waste transports to the facility would be needed as part of the developer’s environmental statement, said the inspectorate. This would need to include the “anticipated origin of waste fuel” and the methods used to reduce the impacts from waste imports – something not detailed in Wood’s scoping report.
MVV’s development of the Wisbech-based plant would make it its third UK-based EfW plant if approved, behind its Devonport EfW Combined Heat and Power Facility in Plymouth and the Baldovie Energy from Waste facility in Dundee.
To view the Planning Inspectorate’s scoping opinion in full click here