Uncertainty over MVV’s Medworth approval as Fenland considers legal challenge

Uncertainty has arisen over the approval of MVV’s proposal for a 625,000 tonne energy from waste (EfW) facility in Medworth, Cambridgeshire.

An artist’s impression of MVV’s proposed combined heat and power facility in Wisbech

After approving the facility yesterday (see letsrecycle.com story) the Planning Inspectorate pulled the notice from its website later in the day, saying that “clarification is being sought” on the plant’s development consent decision.

The notice outlines that “a further update will be provided in due course”.


While the cause of the delay is unclear at this stage, there are two potential possibilities for the move.

The first is that the Environment Agency’s consultation on an environmental permit for the plant is still live, closing today.

While the Agency said at the time it is minded to accept the application for a permit, the permit has not yet been granted (see letsrecycle.com story).

This decision is a slap in the face for the local democratic process

  • Cllr Steve Tierney, Wisbech South


Meanwhile, another reason could be as a result of legal action from a local council.

Fenland district council issued a statement soon after the ‘acceptance’ yesterday warning that it is considering taking legal action over the decision.

The council warned that the plant was opposed by Fenland district council, Wisbech town council, Cambridgeshire county council, Norfolk county council, and the borough council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, “as well as local action groups and hundreds of residents because of its scale and potential negative impacts on residents”.

The council warned that while the Secretary of State’s decision cannot be appealed but “there may be a chance to challenge it at judicial review”.

A  motion before Fenland district council on 26 February has asked members to agree to “authorise officers to instruct legal counsel with appropriate expertise to provide their opinion in respect of this decision and the way in which it has been made by the Secretary of State, specifically to advise whether there are any grounds for a judicial review to be sought to overturn this decision, and the likelihood that any such judicial review would be successful.”

Cllr Steve Tierney, district councillor for Wisbech South, has put forward a motion to Fenland’s full council, which says: “This decision is a slap in the face for the local democratic process and has resulted in real fear and understandable anger in the local community.”


In the application, MVV explained that the facility will have a maximum operating capacity of 625,600 tonnes per annum and will contain two thermal treatment lines.

Each line will incorporate an advanced moving grate furnace, high pressure steam boiler, air pollution control plant, continuous emissions monitoring system and a discharging chimney. The two chimneys on the proposed site will have a height of 84 metres.

Waste sourced from “household, industrial and commercial” sources will be delivered from pre-approved suppliers in enclosed or covered waste collection vehicles.

Share this article with others

Subscribe for free

Subscribe to receive our newsletters and to leave comments.

Back to top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest waste and recycling news straight to your inbox.