Protestors challenge report that says massive expansion of concrete plant at Littleport will only have ‘low impact’

FP McCann Ltd of Wisbech Road, Littleport, want to build a £2million expansion but have faced stiff

FP McCann Ltd of Wisbech Road, Littleport, want to build a £2million expansion but have faced stiff opposition from a number of concerned residents. - Credit: Archant

Opponents pledged to fight a report to East Cambs planners that massive expansion of McCann’s concrete plant in Littleport is unlikely to affect the environment.

The original application to extend the plant was approved by the council only to be blocked in the High Court after a judge ruled it lacked a study on any environmental impact.

Now a report produced to East Cambs Council argues that an environment impact assessment (EIA) is not needed.

The newly published report carried out by consultancy firm WYG argues that FP McCann’s £2 million development – which includes a 33,000 sq ft factory and two 64 foot silos – on Wisbech Road is “unlikely to cause potentially significant effects” to the environment.

The document claims that the noise from the development would only have a “low impact” on the surrounding area.

It says that any danger of dust or a decrease in air quality would also have a “medium to low” impact – despite protests from nearby residents.

One letter of objection, from a resident who lives on Wisbech Road, said: “However reassuring the claims make by FP McCann about the noise levels, dust control and how emissions will be monitored and dealt with, in reality this will not always be the case.

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“We believe that if the proposal went ahead, the immediate impact on this local area will be disastrous and long term prosperity of Littleport and the welfare of the local residents will suffer badly.”

People power triumphed in May when FP McCann’s application was quashed by the High Court after campaign group ‘Save Our Fens’ took legal action against the council, who approved the application earlier this year.

A judge ruled that the council had not properly assessed the potential environmental impact of the expansion by failing to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment – something the screening opinions also deemed “unnecessary” this time around.

Save Our Fens says on their website that “despite the High Court ruling, there appears to be another error in law as the screening does not consider the environmental impact of the industrial park as a whole.

“All in all, the document appears to have been written by McCann via consultants so that ECDC can “tick the box”.

“However, because of its shortcomings, this document will almost certainly lay ECDC open to another legal challenge if it is adopted.”