BACI held a protest to allow residents the chance to express their concern in the form of a demonstration on Green Lane the proposed access road for the Covanta Incinerator HGV’s.
Covanta currently has planning permission for 594 HGV movements (297 HGVs) per day up and down Green Lane. In addition to a considerable number of other issues with the Covanta proposal – the HGV movements has been highlighted to BACI by residents as an issue they consider important.
This became especially pertinent when information from the Environment Agency during the 2nd Consultation period stated that they would not take the HGV movements outside of the plant site into account in any decision process. This was both in terms of impact and emissions.
BACI hoped to represent how congested the proposed number of HGVs will make this village road, the impact on Kimberley College and local residents on a daily basis and of course the resulting emissions this will generate.
The assembly point was Kimberley College car park. At registration vehicles were assigned numbers and given 2 posters to display these numbers in the side back windows of their vehicles. Participants were also asked to print out and display a poster showing where they were representing e.g Marston Moretaine Resident – to show the geographical concern regarding the Covanta site.
The route was Green Lane between the entrance from the C94 (old A421) to the proposed Covanta Site entrance. At each end of the route vehicles turned around and returned down Green Lane. A road closure order with attending police officers was in effect to enable this to take place safely.
BACI marshalls were posted both in the car park, at the Kimberley College entrance to Green Lane and at the Stewartby village end of the route.
Despite the rain – we were also joined by a select number of spectators/demostrators outside Kimberley College who did a good job of cheering on the parade of cars as they joined Green Lane.
Unfortunately – we did not reach the vehicle number target of 297 which was probably in part down to the weather. However – 134 vehicles did take part. Even with under half the amount of vehicles – the resulting congestion on Green Lane more than adequately made our point. This was further emphasised when the level crossing came down halfway through the event.
ITV Anglia and BBC Look East teams were on site for the majority of the event and we received good coverage from both channels on the Saturday evening news slots.
There was a significant increase in the numbers signing the petition (currently standing at 5413) and joining BACI facebook group (currently standing at 2010).
Kimberley College for the use of their car park for registration and assembly into line before joining Green Lane.
Our Police liaison officer
Bedford Borough Highways
BACI Volunteers and Marshals – Elinor, Sian, Mike, Ros, Tracey, Elaine, Stephen, Caroline, Gareth and Robert
A minimum of £1 per car was requested in order to cover our overall costs (event insurance etc) – however – additional donations were gratefully received.
A big thank you to everyone who donated on the day – especially a very generous anonymous donation of over £200.
The Donations total on the day was £529.01
The total cost of the event was £443.95 – please see invoices and receipts etc for event insurance, portaloo, equipment and stationery supplies.
Making surplus Donations of – £85.06
We have identified a need to start monitoring the air quality at various locations in and around Marston Vale. It is important that we obtain unbiased and up to date readings prior to construction (if a permit is granted). The cost of the equipment is being looked into at the moment. If (for whatever reason) the air monitoring does not take place – the surplus donations will go towards any legal challenges that may be required in the future.
Police Support Issues
We received reports on the day that some participants/protestors experienced problems gaining access from the C94 (old A421) end due to the police presence at the junction.
I understand from our police liaison officer who was with us at Kimberley College – that there was some concern about vehicles queuing to join Green Lane from the C94 causing a safety issue. Of course – as some of the protestors pointed out – this is likely to happen when there is a significant increase of HGVs turning in this exact same place.
In some isolated cases – we also received reports that the police officers were not as polite as they could have been in their dealings with protestors wishing to enter Green Lane at the C94 junction.
We apologise if you were affected by this situation – we have been advised by our police liaison officer to direct any complaints regarding conduct to the official police complaints procedure which can be found at http://www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/complaintsandcomments#commissioner