Overview of the proposal Waste management is a pressing issue in the developed world as firms, households, schools, hospitals and hotels among other facilities continue to churn out waste on a daily basis. This waste, if not well managed, is a menace to the environment. The Rookery South Energy-from-Waste (EfW) Generating Station is a proposed plan that will seek to manage waste from the surrounding areas of Bedfordshire and produce electric energy. The facility will be constructed near Stewartby, south of Bedford, at the previous site of the Rookery South Pit, a former extraction pit for brick-making clay (See Appendix A for a map of the proposed location).
The proposed Rookery South Energy-from-Waste (EfW) Generating Station will process 585 000 tonnes of waste annually to produce 65MWe of which 55MWe will be exported to the national grid and the rest used by the facility and surrounding areas. Before commencement of any construction work, Covanta Energy must meet a number of requirements from various bodies. First on the line is the environmental permit that seeks clarification on the facility’s commitment to environment protection such as low odour and waste water emissions.
Furthermore, the issue of the facility buildings interfering with the scenic views of the surrounding areas must be addressed. Covanta Energy has expressed its desire to meet these legal requirements such as the proposed design of the buildings which will be made of interlocking boxes as opposed to bricks or 3-stack boxes to reduce its height (See Figure 1). Covanta has explained this will not interfere with the facility’s capacity as it will have 9 times the total capacity per annum of the Isle of Man EfW (Covanta Energy, 2011).
Therefore, this proposal shall address the impact the development will have on the people, environment, land history, transport and communication systems in the Bedforshire County. Figure 1: The Current Rookery South EfW Generating Station DesignHistory of Land Use and Potential Impact of ProjectNature and extent of urban/rural land development of the surrounding area since settlementCouncil documents indicate that the Bedfordshire area has largely been used for agricultural purposes in the past. The Land Utilization Survey of Britain of 1931 through a number of surveys resulted into maps with clear marking of forests, meadow, arable land, heathland, garden ground, waste land, ponds and built-up land.
The use of majority of the land as indicated by these early maps has changed. During the Second World War, the British government embarked on a policy set to increase agricultural production in the country in order to support its troops in war and the rest of the country. Farmers in the county were given money to plough grasslands and convert them into farming land. Majority of these farmers had their dwelling houses constructed in their farms (Bedfordshire Borough County 2012).
As such, the area doubled up as a residential and agricultural area. Currently the so called ‘sand pit’ has naturally transformed into sanctuary for Bedfordshire’s thriving wildlife including birds and wild plants (Hamer 2010). Owing to rapid economic development and population pressure, the area’s population has increased steadily and large portions of farmland have been replaced by town houses and estates. Currently the county borough is a residential area of choice for many households in the UK. Data from a 2003 survey show that the borough has over 60,000 houses serving 149,000 people in the Borough, of which just over 10,000 are owned by housing associations.
Of these houses 25% of them were constructed before 1919, 13% between 1919 and 1944, 17% between 1945 and 1964 while the rest, 45% were constructed after 1964 (Bedfordshire Borough Council 2012). This shows that the area has a significant number of old houses whereby some of them could be in a state of disrepair. Strong vibrations from the proposed facility could pose a huge threat to such aged buildings.