Univer­sity asks for de­lay over in­cin­er­a­tor

En­vi­ron­ment Agency still study­ing new per­mit re­quest

Loughborough Echo - - FRONT PAGE - ANDY RUSH [email protected]­plc.com

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.

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