Village dump at centre of toxic waste row sold

THE controversial toxic waste dump at Warboys has been sold in a deal that could see the site decontaminated and developed for either housing or business use. Millions of tonnes of waste, some of it hazardous, has been tipped into former aggregates pits a

THE controversial toxic waste dump at Warboys has been sold in a deal that could see the site decontaminated and developed for either housing or business use.

Millions of tonnes of waste, some of it hazardous, has been tipped into former aggregates pits at the site in Puddock Hill which, until this week, was owned by Fenside Waste Management Limited.

On Monday, it was sold to the Lancashire-based Woodford Group, which specialises in decontaminating brownfield land before selling it for building.

It is the culmination of a long fight by villagers against further dumping of toxic waste and what they saw as poor management of the by-products of decaying material deposited there in earlier years.


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Woodford's communications director Terry Dean told The Hunts Post: "We would not be here if we didn't think we could make proper and safe use of the site."

The company has access to all the specialist expertise needed to take hazards out of contaminated land and restore it to a condition for development.

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Mr Dean said. "We have the ability to investigate sites, to determine remediation measures, agree them with the regulators and carry them out to renew the land, ultimately to the benefit of everybody."

John Dennis, chairman of the Warboys Landfill Action Group, said: "Let's hope for the best.

"It's better than what we have at the moment, but we would have preferred an experienced landfill operator to come in."

Mr Dennis said he hoped the announcement meant villagers would get back the money spent fighting previous plans for the site.

An inquiry was held into an appeal against Cambridgeshire County Council's refusal of planning consent for Fenside to put 350,000 tonnes of hazardous material into the final "cell" of the site.

The appeal collapsed when Fenside threw in the towel, saying it was obvious the inspector was going to find against the company, and left directors with a legal bill of about £1million, instead of the estimated £40million they would have made in the planned four-year life of the cell.

The Woodford Group will probably pick up the legal bill as part of the sale, although it would not disclose details of a complicated agreement.

The public inquiry also heard the area would need active management for as long as 5,000 years to control underground decay of dumped material.

Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, who supported the residents' fight against planning consent, said: "I hope the new owner will have full and proper consultation with local residents and take their views on board.

"I will also be seeking a meeting with the company as soon as possible."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Victor Lucas, who chairs a forum of all the parties involved, including the operators and the villagers, said: "It has been reassuring for everyone concerned that, before putting a bid in, Woodford's representatives met all the parties to seek their views.

"They should be aware of all the issues associated with the site before having committed themselves to the purchase, so that's discernible positive progress."

* For more background or to have your say on the Warboys saga, log on to www.cambs24.co.uk and click on "blogs" in the left-hand column.

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