University asks for delay over incinerator
Environment Agency still studying new permit request
LOUGHBOROUGH University has added its voice to concerns over a new permit for the Biffa incinerator plant in Shepshed.
The Energy Recovery Facility at the former Newhurst Quarry, off the M1 Junction 23, was initially refused planning permission by Leicestershire County Council in 2011, but was granted permission in 2012 by the Secretary of State after an appeal.
A further planning application to increase the annual tonnage of waste was passed by the county council in 2014.
And in May this year Biffa Waste Services submitted an application to the Environmental Agency asking for changes to its environmental permit.
Biffa’s application states: “Although the site has held an EP (environmental permit) since 2011 the facility has not been constructed and is therefore not operational at this time.”
The company added that the 2011 permit was based on a previous design, which had now been superseded by the latest planning consent.
The Environment Agency launched a public consultation over the application which includes the increase of the amount of waste processed and general site layout changes. The consultation was extended until October 12 and now the agency is processing the application. A spokesperson for the Environment Agency told the Echo: “We have received an application for a substantial variation to the permit that was issued to Biffa Waste Services Ltd in 2011 to operate an incinerator at Newhurst Quarry. “Following an extensive consul- tation period, we are gathering the responses and further information from the operator in order to determine whether, or not, we will grant the change to bring the permit in line with planning permission variation that was granted in 2014.”
However the agency says that if the permit is refused, that does not mean the incinerator will not still be able to go ahead, as the previous permit is still in place.
In the consultation process concerned people have submitted objections including the Loughborough Air Quality Protection Group (LAQPG).
A spokesman for the group said: “Until such time as the operators can guarantee their incineration process will cause zero harm to human health, Loughborough will suffer from the public perception that the incinerator will indeed cause harm to health, making the area an undesirable place to live, work, study, play sports or invest in.”
And in its submission to the Environmental Agency regarding the permit, Loughborough University states: “Biffa’s submission does not mention the university, the healthy active student population, or the elite athletes here on campus.
“The university feels strongly that further research is required in relation to this submission before it is granted.
“We ask that the granting of permission is delayed whilst academic research is undertaken by the university to determine the level of risk to health posed by the permit.”
Loughborough University chief operating officer Richard Taylor said: “Loughborough University feels strongly that further research is required into the effects of incinerator emissions before an environmental permit is granted and the university has made this clear to the Environment Agency.” A Biffa spokesperson told the
Echo: “We are continuing to pursue the variation application to the current Environmental Permit, the purpose of which is to ensure compliance with all relevant pollution control and air quality standards.
“Generating power from waste which is unsuitable for recycling remains an important environmental objective in our view and an important element of the UK’s resources and waste strategy, alongside recycling of other materials.”
Feel strongly that further research is required into the effects of the incinerator emissions
An artist’s impression of what the new incinerator at Newhurst Quarry in Shepshed would look like.