Environmental Assessment 

Transport and access: Transport and access to the site and the impact of deliveries and people employed at the ERF is the subject of a full Transport Study, which has taken on comments by the Highway Authorities.  Measures that Covanta and Veolia are proposing to minimize and enhance traffic and access impacts include restrictions on delivery hours, intersection turning-lanes, improvements to the footway/cycle provision on Green Lane, exploring upgrades to the Green level crossing and reconnection and creation of footpaths and cycleways.

Air Quality Impact Assessment (AQIA): An AQIA has been prepared in accordance with current planning policy and following consultation with the EA, Natural England Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedfordshire District Council. The AQIA analysis determined there are no significant impacts, on human health or produce grown in the area, from emissions generated from either the construction or operational phases of the project.

Noise and vibration: Covanta and Veolia have carefully considered noise and has assessed the existing noise levels in the area and used computer modelling of the proposed building and equipment. These measurements were compared and studied against calculations of the noise levels at surrounding locations. Covanta and Veolia are using Government guidance on environmental noise, together with other standards, to establish suitable noise standards for the ERF. Initial calculations of construction noise indicate that this will be well below recommended criteria.

Ecology and nature conservation: An ecological impact assessment indicates the project has the potential to effect several ecological areas within the South Rookery Pit, however, simple measures can be taken to manage and avoid these impacts. Covanta and Veolia also identified several ways in which the project could contribute to the local community including enhancing the Forest of Marston Vale through a separate Forest of Marston Vale Trust fund.

Landscape and visual impact: The Rookery South Pit site is 95 hectares and the ERF will occupy approximately 10 hectares of the total area. The ERF location and orientation is designed to keep the visual impact on the surrounding area to a minimum and to also reduce potential noise.  The building design of 'interlocking boxes' was selected as it allows the height of the building to be reduced and addresses the dominance of the roof profile in medium and long distance views. A detailed colour study was undertaken to identify appropriate material and a colour palette. To reduce night time visibility, the facility design calls for minimised external lighting and windows to be located on the north elevation of the main EfW building. The height of the ERF is also at the lower end of the range when compared with other UK EfW plants.

Cultural heritage: The ERF will be constructed in Rookery South Pit and will therefore have almost no direct impact on areas such as historic buildings and historic and archaeological sites.  Any potential impacts on these areas have been addressed from an early stage in the design of the project such as choice of stack and height of the main buildings.

Land and water quality: Groundwater abstractions nor groundwater protection zones are located in the Rookery South Pit vicinity, providing an ideal location for the ERF. Although risks associated with the site are low or very low, standard environmental management procedures and controls will be put in place to mitigate any impacts.

Hydrology and flood risk: The Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) considers the risk of flooding to the project location from the adjacent Mill Brook watercourse and measures surface water run-off.  The project’s impact on local hydrology and flood risk is listed as Non Significant with no residual or cumulative effects.

Socio economics: The project will create more than 300 jobs during construction, with 40-50 permanent roles within the plant, including apprenticeships, during operation. During the peak construction period, the project will employ over 600 tradesman and workers. Covanta and Veolia have also proposed to introduce a discount scheme to reduce household energy bills and provide education and community facilities.

For more information, please visit; http://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/rookery-south-energy-from-waste-generating-station/?ipcsection=docs