Huge concerns over plans to build medical waste incinerator
- Credit: Archant
Residents of St Ives and Bluntisham have raised concerns about plans to build a large hospital waste incinerator near their villages.
Waste management company Envar have put forward a planning application for a Healthcare Waste Energy Recovery Facility at The Heath, Woodhurst.
The healthcare waste will come from local hospitals, including Hinchingbrooke Hospital and doctors and dentists who require high temperature destruction.
St Ives resident David Glover, is worried about the impact the incinerator will have on nearby villages.
David said: “I feel this is one of the biggest challenges, because it effects everyone.
"It is not just St Ives with a population of 17,000, but surrounding villages, just under 30,000 people.
“A total of 12,000 tonnes of medical waste could be disposed of at the site and could be anything from limbs to radio therapy treatments or plastics.
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“12,000 tonnes of waste equates to 12,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be emitted."
A spokesman for Envar said: "Envar Composting are thrilled to be launching a truly innovative concept at their existing site at Woodhurst.
"This will feature the UK’s first large scale Dry AD plant which takes in green and food waste combined, producing top quality compost as well as biogas that is fed into the National Grid or used as vehicle fuel.
"Dry AD is a well proven technology very common in Europe and enables a very controlled processing environment with sites often very close to residential areas without any odour nuisance.
"Normally heat from these healthcare facilities is released to the atmosphere whereas in this case all the heat will be beneficially used for the organic processing side of things.
"In addition a carbon friendly fertiliser pellet plant will be included which utilises site processes to produce a low carbon fertiliser equivalent."
Within Envar’s Health impact Assessment it states: “People living in the vicinity of the EnVar site may be exposed to marginally higher levels of Dioxins as a result of the operation of the proposed HERF for the proportion of the time that they spend there.”
David expressed: “Envar talk about Dioxins, this will have a residual effect and in the future that there will be a build-up of contaminants in the soil, it could be ten years.
“The life expectancy of these is 35 years and they will have an affect, they can effect people’s mental health and the immune system.
“Even more worrying is something called a nano particle, which is very serious and currently in the UK emissions going out of these incinerators are not regulated or monitored, for these nano particles.”
Colne Heath Farm which is only two miles away and sits behind the Envar site in Bluntisham.
Simon Bluff is the owner of the farm and his eggs are a main provider for Waitrose.
Simon said: "My chicken farm was not recognised on the planning application and is only 230 metres away from the site.
"The dioxins levels will be higher than average and with prevailing wind, it will come straight over the farm and drop.
"I am worried about the dioxin levels being picked up in the eggs which could be refused and then I would lose my livelihood."
Raptor Foundation located in Woodhurst are also in opposition of the plans.
Within a statement it said: “We at the Raptor Foundation have been holding off until we had enough information before commenting on the proposed medical waste incinerator at EnVar.
“Our stance is firmly against the proposal.
“We have very clear worries about the proposed release of dioxins among other things into the atmosphere, directly next to our site.
David has started a Facebook group called POWI:- www.facebook.com/groups/231897175605633/?ref=share
Cambridgeshire County Council have a deadline of September 10 for people to have their say.