CPRE the Countryside Charity Hampshire is aware that US company Wheelabrator Technologies is attempting to build a substantial “waste to energy” incinerator overlooking the Test Valley in Hampshire.
The planned location for the incinerator is greenfield land at the site of the Raymond Brown recycling “Enviropark”, alongside the A303 East of Andover. Due to its large size, the consent process and decision will be made by the National Infrastructure Unit within the Planning Inspectorate.
CPRE Hampshire has serious concerns about the suitability of this site in the Test Valley on the basis of two key areas of potential impact: Landscape and Water (eco-system services):
CPRE Hampshire has concerns about the resulting landscape impact associated with the proposed 55-metre-tall building, with chimneys erected to 100 metres. The planned site is on high ground overlooking the Rivers Test and Dever. It is only some 3km south of the boundary of the North Wessex Downs AONB, from which views could be adversely affected by the chimneys and the size of the proposed building. The structure will be clearly visible from parts of the nearby villages of Barton Stacey and Longparish, as well as from stretches of the Test and Dever rivers. There will also be a potential landscape impact over a wider area.
The Test Valley is popular with walkers, cyclists, horse riders and tourists. The River Test attracts Trout Fisherman locally and from around the world on the basis of its status as one of the best examples of the few remaining chalk streams.
Water (Eco-Systems Services)
Test Valley is an area of acute water stress, and CPRE Hampshire has strong concerns about the Water implications of the proposed Incinerator that are yet to be addressed by Wheelabrator Technologies. CPRE Hampshire is predisposed to a view that the potential Water impact, in terms of quantity, quality, drainage and flood issues in the locality, poses a significant obstacle to the proposal at this site.
Some of the Water issues of concern include:
– The site is directly atop the South’s vital regional chalk groundwater aquifer, with several metres of minor aquifer gravel/head covering, placing it within a Water Protection Zone (EU- WFD protection of water supply source zones), and so there is a planning presumption against allowing any significant potentially contaminating developments to take place, unless there are robust mitigating measures planned-in– in collaboration with the Environment Agency.
– The risk of contamination for surface streams which have high economic, habitat and environmental value.
– Plant water requirements (once clarified and estimate-quantified) will have to come either from public supply mains (expensive and maybe insufficient) or local river (pipeline needed and unreliable in droughts) or drill their own site borehole (quantity limited by licence).
– The likelihood of Groundwater flooding in the area. Barton Stacey Parish Council have provided evidence of local groundwater flooding in the area.
A full and comprehensive Hydrological Investigation is required by Wheelabrator Technologies at this early stage, along with their resource and discharge/drainage intentions (both quantity and quality) in order to estimate potential impacts on the highly stressed, valued and protected chalk water environments.
The next stage in the Wheelbrator process involves consulting with interested parties before the “pre-application” is made and then full application which would follow in the New Year. A Government inspection follows and at that time more submissions can be made by individuals and bodies. The process is explained in detail here:
CPRE Hampshire is a Consultee for the Wheelabrator Technologies application. We will bring you updates as they are available.
Inspectorate response to scoping report: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/EN010104/EN010104-000036-WHAR%20-%20Scoping%20Opinion.pdf
Wheelabrator Harewood website https://www.wtiharewood.co.uk/