Developers who want to build a £300 million biomass power plant close to the West Norfolk border have insisted trucks will only go to and from the site via main roads.
Representatives from more than a dozen parish councils and protest group BATI (Bridge Against The Incinerator) attended the thirteenth meeting in Sutton Bridge to discuss plans for a 64-acre site at Wingland.
If South Holland District Council gives planning consent, EnergyPark Sutton Bridge will take 30 months to build the 48MW power station – with mostly lorries among the contractors’ 56,000 vehicles – and when it’s operational there will be 118 lorries going to and from the site every day.
But officials insisted lorries servicing the site would only travel via the A47 and A17.
Project director Helen Rome said: “They categorically will not go through the villages.”
But BATI vice-chairman Kevin Wheeler lives in Chalk Lane, who lives close to the site in what was meant to be a dream retirement home in the country with his wife Stephanie, fears their lives will become a nightmare with so many trucks thundering by.
And Mr Wheeler also warned of huge tailbacks with extra lorries using the Cross Keys Bridge.
He said: “If the bridge opens, and it can do so five or six times a day, it can gridlock back to King’s Lynn and to Wisbech.”
Members of the Sutton Bridge parish council also expressed fears about the plant’s effect on air quality.
Gary Croxford asked: “What guarantees are we going to have there will be absolutely no effect upon the health of this community?”
EnergyPark managing director Chris Williams said there will be no odour from the 80-metre high chimney stacks and air-cleaning technology is so advanced that the air going out of the chimneys will be cleaner than air going in.
BATI chairman Craig Jackson said EnergyPark should install systems to offer discounted electricity to local residents if the plant gets the go-ahead.
what happens now?
Attention will soon turn to the South Holland District Council, whose planning committee will decide whether the power station plan should go ahead or not. Although a date for the application has yet to be confirmed, it is thought that a decision could be made as early as next month.
what would the plant do?
Developers say the facility would burn wood chippings in order to produce power and would not process any other material.
why is there so much opposition?
Critics say the development would put local people’s health at risk and raise traffic levels.