BACI’s post-event questionnaire and comments from residents regarding the Environment Agency’s drop-in event 20/09/17 – highlighted that the EA representatives were advising residents to contact Central Beds Council in respect to the traffic emissions to and from the Covanta site as Central Beds had ‘agreed’ the traffic.
BACI felt this was totally misrepresenting the situation given that the local authority opposed the Covanta Incinerator from the start and planning (including traffic movements) were agreed at a National Level outside of CBC’s control.
BACI requested a quote (see below) from the Minerals and Waste Team at Central Beds Council in order to put the record straight.
“I will try to set out the position as clearly as possible as there is some confusion about who is responsible for what.
HGV movements to and from the site and the impacts associated with this, were considered by the commissioners of the Infrastructure Planning Commission in 2011. This was before permission was given for the offices to be used as a college. Both Bedford and Central Bedfordshire Councils challenged the IPC decision through a Special Parliamentary Committee process but the special committee never the less agreed with the IPC and the DCO was issued in 2013. The DCO includes a requirement which restricts the HGV movements importing or exporting waste, incinerator bottom ash aggregate or flue gas treatment residues to and from the development to 594 movements per day.
The role of the EA is to only consider emissions from the site so I understand that they would not consider off site traffic movements. This was the role of the IPC. Both Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Council objected to the DCO on a number of matters including highways. The DCO does require both Councils to consider a number of technical matters but none of these include the number of vehicles or any pollution issues associated with these.
I think that you are right that the delay between the original decision and the submission of the permit application has not helped the public’s understanding of what is happening. Whilst both councils have been opposed to the development, the DCO requires the councils to ensure compliance with it’s requirements. The DCO will run in parallel with any environmental permit which will be monitored by the EA.
I think that this could have been much clearer had the EA held a public meeting at the beginning of the permit application process as others including both councils had requested.”