Campaign group lose bid to block Covanta incinerator plant near Bedford

A campaign group fighting controversial plans for a £450million incinerator lost its Court of Appeal bid to block the plant.

Waste-management giant Covanta wants to build the incinerator at Rookery Pit, Stewartby, near Bedford.

In November 2018, campaigners lost a High Court case against a permit for the plant being issued by the Environment Agency.

The challenge by Bedfordshire Against Covanta Incinerator against the ruling was rejected at the Appeal Court.

The construction of the facility

In a statement, the campaign group said there was "great sadness" over the court's decision.

"We will continue to contend that the Industrial Emissions Directive has not been upheld by the Environment Agency in the case of this permit - and it allows for a pathway of pollution that now will not be addressed," it said.

The group had claimed "toxic metals" would be discharged into people's drinking water.

Lib Dem councillor for Elstow, Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick Tim Hill branded the decision as a "terrible blow" for the community.

The new facility is due to be up and running by March 2022

He said: "I will keep working with residents to ensure their voices are heard over the need to minimise the impact of the development on the local community as far as possible.

"Huge thanks to Bedfordshire Against Covanta Incinerator and everyone who has been part of the campaign against this vastly oversized incinerator."

However, both the Environment Agency and Covanta Energy denied there was any risk to the public.

A spokesman for Covanta said it was "pleased with the Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the Environment Agency's issuance of the environmental permit for the Rookery South project".

He added: "We look forward to advancing construction on the Energy Recovery Facility, which represents critical waste infrastructure that will help the UK achieve national landfill diversion and meet the energy needs of over 112,500 homes."

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the Court of Appeal's judgement and are satisfied our original decision has been upheld."