I refer to the proposed £300million Energy Park Sutton Bridge development that was highlighted in the Spalding Guardian.
I have observed that whenever a company plans to build something in a locality that could have future detrimental effects on the community; they always flag up three things:
1 – Jobs; 2 – Lower energy costs; Money to be spent on community projects.
Peterborough Renewable Energy (PREL) is no exception and they have even changed their name to make it sound more environmentally friendly – Eco Innovations!
Firstly, it will be a plant the BURNS waste. Okay, not black sack rubbish waste, but the end product of other processes: wood waste (pellets), food waste (possibly), straw waste (from farms), back-door waste from a local paper mill etc.
What is usually glossed over is the fact that this material will be BURNT and any burning process creates emissions into the atmosphere, which include dioxins.
Five chimneys (or “stacks” as they are called) will emit quite a bit of smoke. The waste material will be transported to the plant by lorries moving in and out at the rate of one lorry movement every four to five minutes in a 12-hour period, seven days-a-week.
These lorry movements create carbon emissions as well as creating noise and traffic chaos on an already busy road, especially at peak times.
With lorries potentially coming from Spalding and beyond; from North Cambridgeshire along the A1101; from King’s Lynn and directions east; from local farms and factories possibly through Sutton Bridge; it does not take much imagination to envisage the future chaos on the main road alone, as well as on all traffic trying to avoid the busy A17..
So, to consider:
1 – Jobs: how many of the construction jobs will actually be filled by local people and for how long?
2 – Lower electricity costs: it has been suggested that local people will benefit because the figures always related to equivalent numbers of homes in, say South Holland. This does not mean we will get cheaper electricity as some people think. The electricity goes into the grid system.
3 – Money for the community: In the great scheme of things, the amount of money is small compared to the £300 million required to build the plant. And as it will be doled out in small portions, what long-term visible benefit will there be for the community?
What is needed on the Wingland Enterprise Park are companies that do provide long-term jobs for local people or industries that can provided training for young people.
But the site needs to be given the correct basic infrastructure first.