17 June 2020 by James Langley

Planning Inspectorate rejects Amey’s Waterbeach EfW

The secretary of state for housing, communities and local government has refused Amey planning permission for the company’s proposed energy from waste (EfW) plant at Waterbeach, near Cambridge.

Having been refused permission for the facility by Cambridgeshire county council in September 2018, Amey appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in April 2019 (see letsrecycle.com story).

An artist’s impression of Amey’s proposed Waterbeach EfW plant

Secretary of State Robert Jenrick dismissed the appeal on 15 June. Amey said it was “disappointed” by the decision.

A spokesperson for Amey said: “Amey appealed Cambridgeshire county council’s decision to refuse permission because we firmly believe our proposal has the potential to deliver genuine economic and environmental benefits for the local community.

“These include being able to generate energy to power 63,000 homes – including the 11,000 homes proposed for the Waterbeach New Town development – and reducing carbon emissions by more than 35,000 tonnes per year.

“We remain committed to working with the county council and local community in South Cambridgeshire and we will carefully consider the decision taken by the secretary of state before making further comment.”

Amey has been given six weeks to challenge the secretary of state’s decision at the High Court if it chooses to do so.


In a letter addressed to David Adams, director of the environment and planning consultancy AXIS PED Ltd which is advising Amey, Mr Jenrick was said to have taken into account several reasons for dismissing the appeal.

Mr Jenrick is said to believe the proposed EfW facility would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area and was also said to be “anxious” about pollution and possible adverse health effects.

Denny Abbey

Denny Abbey, the former home to twelfth century Benedictine monks, pictured in 2014 (picture: Shutterstock)

Cambridgeshire county council initially blocked the development of the EfW facility following concerns about its environmental impact.

In part, these concerned the damage the proposed 80 metre stack could cause to the nearby Denny Abbey, a twelfth century Benedictine monastery.

In this week’s decision Mr Jenrick said the benefits of the proposed facility were not sufficient to outweigh the potential harm caused to the abbey.


The proposed EfW facility was to have the capacity to treat up to 250,000 tonnes of residual waste every year.

“We firmly believe our proposal has the potential to deliver genuine economic and environmental benefits for the local community”


It was to be built at the Waterbeach Waste Management Park, a 400-acre site run by Amey.

Amey has been contracted to provide waste treatment and household waste facilities to Cambridgeshire since March 2008.

In December 2019, Amey was fined £500,000 by Cambridgeshire county council for sending too much of the region’s biodegradable waste to landfill (see letsrecycle.com story).

The company blamed the missed target on damage to its Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at the Waterbeach Waste Management Park, caused by storm Erik in February 2019.


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