Say no to the untested evaporation to the air of hazardous landfill leachate in Warboys

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A planning application has been made to construct a site for an untested process of treating landfill leachate by evaporating this hazardous and toxic cocktail of waste water to the air via a series of 25 metre high chimneys at the existing landfill site on Puddock Road. The prospect fills the local community with dread.

This dangerous precedent threatens not only the health and well-being of the people of the surrounding villages, but risks irreparable damage to the peaceful timeless landscape of the Fens and its unique fauna and flora, not to mention its importance agriculturally. 

It deeply upsets and angers and many, many people that there appears to be a complete disregard for the long lasting wider detrimental health, air quality and environmental consequences of this unnecessary and ill thought through proposal.

We need your help!! While over 250 letters of objection has been submitted and over 500 have signed the petition, please help the people of Warboys and the surrounding villages, including Bury, Ramsey, Somersham, Upwood and Chatteris to be given a louder voice and to implore the Planning Committee of Cambridge County Council to turn down this planning application at the meeting on 6 September. Wherever you live, you could well end up eating bread, potatoes, peas, onions and sugar from the Fens that has been contaminated.

We feel compelled, indeed we have a responsibility, to do all we can to prevent what is a very real and unacceptable risk to our families and friends from the evaporated toxins / residues causing significant and long lasting health issues, not least to the children who attend the primary school in Warboys, less than a mile away. Together we can, and we must, make a difference as the current guardians of Warboys and its environs.

We are gravely concerned over the danger to health from the toxic emissions that will be discharged from an unproven and untested procedure. The atmospheric fallout of particulates / toxins will be taken up by the surrounding crops and ingested by wildlife. There is a very clear and significant risk to human health from breathing the polluted air and from consuming contaminated food. 

The Fens are the bread basket of Britain. The silt and peat soils are a major and essential resource of national importance for agriculture, with wheat, vegetables and sugar beet of major value. (Source: Natural England 2015)

Danger!! The proposed transportation of hazardous waste / leachate to the site raises concerns over the spillage of waste in the event of an accident. The dyke and drain network, a unique feature of the Fens, are all interconnected. Any spillage will end up in that network and absorbed / irrigated onto the land.

In addition to the evaporating of leachate, the fuel source for running the process 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year will be scrap / waste wood, which is contrary to Government thinking and brings with its own environmental pollution and health risks. The Government’s recent publication of its Clean Air Strategy (22 May 2018) stated that poor air quality is the fourth biggest threat to public health, with a particular focus on the release of particulates from the significant growth in the use wood burning stoves.

There is a serious concern the wood to supply the plant will be scrap wood from building sites, factories, discarded pallets, construction projects, recycling plants etc. The burning waste wood containing glue, resins and paint toxins, together with the evaporated leachate, will have a very material deleterious impact on people’s health and will be in direct contradiction to the Government’s desire for cleaner air for all.

At Risk!! The ancient Warboys and Wistow Wood (SSSI) is 500 metres away and is described as being of ‘National Value’. The impact on this ancient woodland, currently categorised as 80% unfavourable / declining, of the contaminated air is unimaginable.

Last, but by no means least, the surrounding area contains a very rich biodiversity, some unique to the Fens. Significant numbers of migratory birds over winter in the area. In addition, skylarks, buzzards, swans, golden plovers, dotterels, kestrels, sparrow hawks, marsh harriers, barn owls, reed buntings, bats, corn buntings and various deer are regularly seen. The drains / dykes contain their own myriad of unique fauna and flora. 

It is very worrying and deeply upsetting that this rich Fenland tapestry with its people, agriculture, history and wildlife is at significant risk from an untested, harmful and completely avoidable scheme.

Please Cambridge County Council Planning Committee, demonstrate your humanity and responsibility to the people of Warboys and the surrounding villages and turn down the application.