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Wisbech incinerator decision announced by Government

20 February 2024

County councillors have united with residents and representatives across Cambridgeshire and Norfolk to express their deep disappointment that the proposal for a large incinerator in the Medworth ward of Wisbech was today (20 February 2024) given permission by the Secretary of State.

Medworth CHP Ltd applied for planning permission to create an energy from waste combined heat and power facility, capable of generating over 50 megawatts of electricity, in July 2022. Their proposals involved land on the Algores Industrial Estate in Wisbech, as well as a grid connection at the Walsoken Substation.

Owing to the size of the proposed development, the planning inspectorate, rather than any local authority, examined Medworth’s application. The planning inspector made their recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Rt Hon Claire Coutinho MP who has made the decision to approve the proposal.

At the July 2020 Full Council meeting, councillors from all parties at Cambridgeshire County Council joined together to oppose this development. The project was also opposed by Fenland District Council, Norfolk County Council, and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, as well as hundreds of local Wisbech residents.

The county council declared climate and nature emergencies in 2019. The authority outlined its support for responsible renewable energy creation in its Climate Change and Environment Strategy and is working on innovative projects to reduce carbon emissions across the area. However, the scale of the development put forward by Medworth CHP Ltd and the potential impacts on local residents and the visual impact on the surrounding area raised serious concerns.

In representations at the public inquiry earlier in the year, the county council highlighted the impact of the suggested development on the landscape, carbon emissions, and transport links in and around Wisbech.

Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee, Councillor Lorna Dupre said: “The Minister’s decision is a huge disappointment to all of us locally who have opposed the Wisbech incinerator proposals and fought against Medworth MVV’s proposals for the edge of this historic town.

“Whilst we fundamentally disagree with the government’s decision and do not believe it is in the best interests of the people of Wisbech, we recognise the Secretary of State’s authority on the matter.

“When it comes to nationally significant infrastructure projects like this one, the decision – and responsibility for the decision – lies with central government.”