Letter to The Braintree and Witham Times. 5th April 2005

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to Councillor Twitchen’s letter (B.W.T. 24.3.05) on Essex County Council’s waste management policy. Her reference to ‘aims of maximum recycling’ and ‘no incineration of household domestic waste in Essex’ is most encouraging. However, in her ‘attempt to set the record straight,’ the councillor makes no reference to the preferred location for waste management facilities on Rivenhall Airfield and the Highways Agency Proposed Southern Route for the A120 Braintree to Marks Tey. This preferred location as stated in the Essex and Southend Waste Local Plan is discussed on P.40 of the Highways Agency Environmental Assessment Report. The facility was originally proposed as part of the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation, a regime involving mass burn incineration. The P. S. Route passes within approximately 250m. of this site. Should planning permission be granted, permission could be obtained for the development itself to fund a new access to the A120. How secure can we really feel that this isolated rural site, conveniently served by a new trunk road, will not involve the incineration or dumping of household or industrial waste? Worse still can we feel secure that it could not be used for chemical or even nuclear waste, whether it be legally or illegally? Could the fast new stretch of A120, part of the Trans European Highway, and the geographical isolation of Rivenhall Airfield prove to be a deadly and convenient combination?

I also note that Section 2 of the Southern Route which includes Rivenhall Airfield is being promoted as it would involve the re-use of a Brownfield site. Technically correct maybe, but Rivenhall Airfield is not a Brownfield site in the generally accepted sense of the word (it is a disused small airfield) and the route does not affect any industrial land. Section 2 does, however, affect 17 fields of agricultural land and would involve 28 ha of land take. Does the Highways Agency Proposed Southern Route have more to do with the proposed waste facility than it does with re-using a Brownfield site?

In conclusion, whether or not you live close to any of the proposed routes, there is good reason to study and question the proposals. Residents of the Braintree District should be quaking in their beds as the wheels turn within wheels behind the scenes. No one should imagine it may not affect them.

Yours sincerely,
Robert J. Lambert.
Coggeshall Resident