D-Day arrives for £200m energy from waste plant at Waterbeach and county council officers reveal their recommendation for approval

An artist's impression of the proposed waste incinerator facility in Waterbeach.

An artist's impression of the proposed waste incinerator facility in Waterbeach. - Credit: Archant

County councillors face a major decision next week when they will be asked to accept their officers’ recommendation to agree a £200 million energy from waste plant – complete with an education and visitors centre.

Once built the plant – situated at Levitt’s Field and within the 400 acre Waterbeach Waste Management Park – will have the capacity to treat up to 250,000 tonnes of residual waste each year.

Officers have recommended to the county council planning committee that meets next Monday that permission is given subject only to a S106 (community benefit) planning obligation and a series of conditions.

However scores of objections have been received – including a petition signed by over 2,000 people. The planning committee will hear many of these objections during what is expected to be an all day meeting in the council chamber at Shire Hall, Cambridge.

Amey believes the new facility will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 63,000 homes (up from the original estimate of 45,000) each year and expect up to provide up to 300 jobs during the three year construction period; once built it will create around 32 jobs.

Details of what’s involved are in the reports being circulated to councillors and these refer to the air cooled condensers and associated infrastructure that form part of the application.

There will be an internal access road, workshop, car, cycle and coach park, perimeter fencing, electricity sub stations, weighbridges, water tank, silo, and landscaping and bridge crossings.

Most Read

To the south of the building will be an education/visitor centre in addition to offices, staff welfare facilities, a control room and laboratory.

Amey pledged in its application to create “an integrated waste management park that provides a complete and comprehensive educational facility to help demonstrate delivery of the waste hierarchy objectives and sustainable waste management and renewable energy generation”.

The proposed main building will be 154 yards long, up to 99 yards wide, and up to 136 feet tall (to take account of the flue gas treatment) whilst the chimney stack has a diameter of 4.9 yards and a height of 262.5 feet (80 metres).

“Parts of the building are proposed to be dropped into the ground in an attempt to keep the building roof heights as low as possible and avoid the use of a raised tipping hall,” says a report to the planning committee.

“These elements include the waste bunker at approximately 33 feet below existing ground level”.

So where will the waste come from?

Officers say they have been told around 184,000 tonnes each year will come from within the waste management park with the remaining 66,000 tonnes per annum from third parties ‘top-up waste’ and in time “from the growth agenda planned from within Cambridgeshire”.

If approved the plant will operate have 8,000 operating hours each year – a capacity of 90 per cent.

Construction of the facility will be based on a working week of 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday with no construction on Sundays or bank holidays. Once built however it will be a 24 hours a day, seven days a week operation, although delivery times will be limited and are expected to be mainly from 10am to 4pm.

During the construction period up to 600 additional daily traffic movements are expected (300 in, 300 out).