NINE new sites earmarked for waste recycling and recovery facilities in Huntingdonshire have been given the green light by a government planning inspector.

The sites in Alconbury, Godmanchester, Needingworth, Warboys, Buckden and Hemingford Grey were signed off by inspector Jonathan King last week, as part of his report on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough minerals and waste plan.

They have been identified for potential facilities by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council and could be developed over the next 15-20 years.

The backing of the inspector was welcomed by council officials. It is expected 70,000 new homes will be built in the county in the next 15 years, and officials say new facilities are needed to deal with the hike in population.

The plan is expected to be formally adopted by the county council's cabinet in February.

County Councillor Ian Bates, said: "It is great news that the plan has been given the go-ahead. It will make a real difference to the lives of residents in Cambridgeshire and confirms our view that the right way to plan for growth in the county is to work closely with local communities. Its key aim is to make sure that any new development in the county is delivered in a way that doesn't negatively affect local communities, now or in the future."

However, there was concern in Warboys where a facility, in addition to the existing waste transfer station at the landfill site, has been earmarked at the industrial estate.

County councillor Victor Lucas, who is also chairman of the Warboys Landfill Liaison Group, said he was disappointed the plan had not been ditched, but was grateful composting at the site had been ruled out.

"We appreciate the fact that the inspector has taken on board the points we have made. They have amended the earlier proposals from CCC to a small workshop-type recycling facility working on things like breaking down electronic components.

"Quite clearly we felt we have already made more than our fair share of a contribution to recycling facilities within the county. But if the planning inspector is convinced that there is no planning reason for not having a facility, then it is difficult to argue against it.

"We have to accept it, but we will make sure that any subsequent plans are totally consistent with the planning inspectors outline."

David Atkinson, the county council's minerals and waste planning manager said once the plan is adopted, it will be up to a private developer to express interest in a site.

"We have to wait and see whether a private enterprise responds or a private developer comes forward to make a planning application.

"If anybody does come forward the plan will help them in their search. All the details of what they want to do will then be open to full consultation.

"Making good use of raw materials is quite important at the present time. We have seen more recycling-type proposals come forward in recent years than ever before.

"It does appear to be an element of the economy that is expanding rather than contracting, which means more jobs and good news for the area."

Other sites earmarked for waste recycling facilities are: adjacent to the A1 in Alconbury, Alconbury airfield, Cow Lane in Godmanchester, Needingworth quarry, Station farm, Buckden, Puddock Hill in Warboys and two sites at Woolpack Farm, Hemingford Grey.