Decision Delayed On Controversial Plan To Extend Grunty Fen Landfill Site

PUBLISHED: 19:20 02 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:54 04 May 2010

CONTROVERSIAL plans to allow Grunty Fen landfill site to remain open for at least another 17 years have been temporarily halted following a meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council. The highly significant decision to allow Waste Management Ltd (WML), a Sp

CONTROVERSIAL plans to allow Grunty Fen landfill site to remain open for at least another 17 years have been temporarily halted following a meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council.

The highly significant decision to allow Waste Management Ltd (WML), a Spanish owned waste disposal firm, to continue dumping large amounts of waste at the site was deferred by councillors on the Development Control Committee on Friday (May 29) following impassioned debate about the plans.

A period of detailed investigation will now be carried out by council officers to further investigate the potential long-term consequences of approving the site, including a look at the traffic impact and possible improvements to road infrastructure.

Haddenham, Wilburton and Witchford parish councils all voiced strong objections to the plans and news of the deferment was welcomed by Wilburton councillor Ian Allen, he said: "It was a sensible move for the council to defer the decision but whether or not we are going to get the improvements necessary to allow the plans to go-ahead I'm sceptical about.

"I'm also concerned about the traffic surveys the council are planning to carry out also as the company in charge of the site has ceased operating temporarily so how they would assess the traffic impact, I don't know."

Approval for the existing site was granted back in 1988, and, should the plans eventually get approval, it would mean the continual use of the site until at least 2026, with the possibility of a further time extension thereafter.

Under the existing arrangement with the council, up to 10 tonnes of rubbish can be dumped at the 11.4 hectare site, just outside of Witchford, every day, with figures in a council report suggesting that as much as 305,000 cubed metres of space is still yet to be filled.

By 2026 the county council expects that the population in East Cambridgeshire alone will have grown by 10% to hit almost 83,000 but WML insisted in the report that the increase in people would not cause an increase in the volume of traffic or amounts of rubbish that will be dumped each day.

County councillor Bill Hunt, who sat on the committee, said: "I argued that it was totally unreasonable to have a 17-year extension at the site, and I still don't believe it should have any more than three years.

"I think it was a very sensible decision to defer approval until we have more information.

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