Certain aspects of the ET article on the 28th of December titled “Council moves ahead with incinerator plan” need to be clarified from PREL’s perspective in order for our EnergyPark proposal to be fully understood.

First and foremost our development does NOT involve “incineration” as is suggested repeatedly in the article. What we are proposing is a ‘biomass power station’ using gasification and Plasma technology – please refer to our website for further technical details on the proposed systems –

We will be combusting 100% biomass as a fuel to provide enough electricity to power around 60,000 houses. It may well be that the City Council’s ERR facility will be burning waste but we will not.

It should also be pointed out that the PREL scheme submitted in 2005 also proposed the use of “non incineration” technology so it is not accurate to suggest that “three incinerators could be granted permission in Peterborough” – the only actual ‘incinerator’ being proposed anywhere (to our knowledge) is the City Council’s.

In the event that the forthcoming EnergyPark Planning Application is approved, the larger scheme submitted back in 2005 will be withdrawn.

The article also says that PREL “would take rubbish from a wider area, including commercial and hazardous waste”. We will NOT be taking in ANY “hazardous waste” from anywhere and our imposed catchment area for 80% of our feedstock is the County of Cambridgeshire and a 20 mile radius of the site. The council incinerator will have the same catchment restriction.

We are also somewhat bemused by the comment “Although the technology may not be as advanced as PRELs, they believe the environmental damage would be offset by fewer lorries using the roads around Fengate” This doesn’t make any sense to us for a number of quite obvious reasons:

  • The two proposals will not compete with one another in any way – Cllr Peach confirms that the City’s priority is its own municipal waste and not ‘commercial’. We are clearly serving two entirely separate markets – we won’t therefore affect the Council’s facility and they won’t affect the EnergyPark.
  • b. The vague suggestion that ‘environmental damage’ from lorry movements is somehow problematic makes no sense either. The lorries that will serve the EnergyPark are already ‘on the road’ collecting rubbish for landfill from further afield than Fengate. It cannot be rationally argued that the vehicles serving the PREL development will cause ‘environmental damage’ – when you examine the plant’s Carbon Footprint it is clear that, far from causing harm, there will be a measurable positive impact on climate change.
  • c. The EnergyPark development in terms of traffic movements will have an impact in the Fengate area of less than 2% – this is considered to be ‘negligible’ in terms of highway science and we are entirely confident that our new scheme will have the unequivocal support of the City Council’s own Highways Department. We would also point out that it was the City Council that took the decision to allocate the EnergyPark site for the use we are proposing. Its previous industrial ‘zoning’ in the Local Plan would have resulted in far higher vehicle movements than the EnergyPark will ever generate.
  • d. Transport pollution seems not to have been an issue for the Council in approving vast numbers of distribution centres throughout the City.

It is time to stop once and for all the seemingly endless speculation that there is some sort of ‘race’ between PREL and the City Council. The City’s incinerator development is of no interest to PREL and likewise the City should have no commercial anxieties over the EnergyPark.

Peterborough needs to make some bold decisions if it really wants to be taken seriously as a potential ‘environment capital of the UK’ but actually supporting the EnergyPark requires no boldness at all. We are proposing a clean biomass power plant using the best available technology that will divert waste from landfill on a site already allocated and indeed protected for such a use.

Climate Change poses a grave threat to the very survival of our planet and it doesn’t matter if you think it is a natural cycle or man made – the fact is we must do our utmost to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Christmas homily voiced heartfelt concerns for the fragility of the environment.

Since as recently as 1990, global temperatures have risen by 0.2°C and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have increased from 354 parts per million to over 380 parts per million and are still rising. The ten warmest years globally since official records began in 1861 have all occurred since 1994, with 1998 being the warmest year, closely followed by 2005.

If no action is taken against climate change, the global average temperature could be as much as 5.8°C higher by 2100 and sea levels could also rise by between 0.09 and 0.88 metres compared to 1990 levels, with a devastating impact on our economy and natural environment, within the UK and on people’s lives throughout the world, including increases in drought and extreme rainfall and greater risks of abrupt changes in climate.

Peterborough Renewable Energy is dedicated to tackling the damaging effects of climate change and the Peterborough EnergyPark is a step in the right direction – it may only be a small step in global terms but any and every project that can deliver secure, diverse, sustainable and competitive renewable energy should, in our view, be welcomed and supported by all.

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