The Covanta Incinerator



The Main Building will be 43 meters tall – nearly the height of the Cardington Hangers.

The Chimney Stack will be 105 meters tall – considerably higher than the remaining Stewartby Brickwork Chimneys.

The Incinerator will be dominating feature from all parts of the Marston Vale, Millbrook, Ampthill Park and the Greensand Ridge


map_immediate_area_H_main_map_flattenedThe Plant will be sited against the railway line at the edge of the Millennium Country Park/Forest Centre – a local family destination.

The surrounding area is currently rich with wildlife incorporating various habitats.

The plant will emit a great deal of light 24/7 – in a previously non-lit rural setting.

The plant will emit noise 24/7 – in a previously quiet rural location.

There is also concern that the nearby sensitive water bodies have not been considered in emission controls

The Vale location increases concerns regarding proper dispersion of emissions from the stack


Rookery Pit Plume Plotter Animation showing the levels of emissions from the stack if the Covanta Incinerator was already in operation. Video goes through the whole year of 2016.  If you would like to see where the plume would be right now – Click Here for more.

There is a lack of information regarding emissions from the incinerators chimney(s) and considerable concern regarding long-term health implications given the plants 40 year lifespan.

It has recently been highlighted by UKWIN that there are limitations to the monitoring achievable for some of the most concerning air emissions of incinerators – nano-particles.

This has resulted in concern at the accuracy of emission data provided in the UK. There is further concern regarding Covanta’s Vale location and ‘normal’ dispersion of these emissions.

One of the by-products of the incinerator is Ash. Accounting for nearly 25% of the original mass burned. A proportion of this is classed as TOXIC waste which will need to be transported to a toxic waste landfill via road through Bedfordshire.

Covanta as an operator has a long documented history of repeatedly being fined over toxic emissions



Planning permission granted in 2013 allows HGV movements of up to 594 a day.

Vehicles would be arriving and departing between 7am and 11pm – 6 days a week down a village road and directly past a Sixth Form College Campus.

The village road in question has a level crossing before the entrance to the Incinerator site.  This will result in queuing of HGV’s stopped by the level crossing whilst both entering and leaving the site.

The volume of HGVs and associated traffic needed to sustain such a large scale industrial area will be beyond the capacity of the roads in this area.

There are also additional concerns about what happens when there is an issue on the preferred routes for the HGVs.

Other Concerns

Covanta’s Development Consent Order does not define a catchment area.

In contrast to land fill – Incinerators need feeding the same amount of waste from Day 1 to Year 35- 40 to be economically viable.

This has the potential to damage the push for increased recycling.

Consultancy Eunomia reported in 2017 that the UK’s capacity to burn waste had doubled since 2010 – but the amount of residual waste suitable for Incineration had dropped from 30 million tpa to 28 million tpa.

More Information – Marston Moreteyne Action Group lots of information dating back to 2010  – Marston Moreteyne Action Group slideshow showing main points and including photos of Covanta Balloon flying exercise and other associated illustrations