Protests grow over waste management plant plans for former brick pit in Whittlesey

Residents and civic leaders in Whittlesey have voiced concerns at plans to create a huge waste management operation at a former brick pit.

By Paul Grinnell
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 5:00 am
Saxon brickworks in 2008.
Saxon brickworks in 2008.

Fears are growing at proposals from hi-tech recycling giant Johnsons Aggregates to handle up to 500,000 tonnes of waste a year at the former Saxon Brickworks site, off Peterborough Road, Whittlesey.

Residents are worried the proposed plant, which would be in operation around the clock, will create unacceptably high levels of noise, pollution and put more lorries on to nearby roads.

Now residents and councillors are urging Cambridgeshire County Council to reject the application that would involve bringing in tonnes of ash from incinerators around the country for storage and reprocessing.

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Numerous letters of objection have been submitted to the county council, which is expected to make decision on the application in the next few months, and to Fenland District Council where councillors have also voted to oppose the application.

Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling, based in Derbyshire, manages and recycles ash from incinerators after which it can then be used as sub-base materials for roads and as alternatives for building sand and gravel.

The company is seeking to modify the former 5.5 hectares brick pit to allow the construction of an industrial plant that would handle the importation, storage and processing of ‘incinerator bottom ash’ as well as construction and demolition waste. It would then export the processed materials for use as ‘incinerator bottom ash secondary aggregates’.

The company also intends to build a 89 square metres office, kitchen and welfare unit for up to 30 staff. There will also be parking spaces for 30 cars, five motorcycles and five cycle spaces.

The proposed facility is expected to would generate about 1,100 (550 in and 550 out) vehicle movements per week, which is about 150 vehicle movements per day with vehicles using existing access arrangements on to the A605.

The incoming IBA is stored for about eight weeks and taken from the stockpile using a front-loading shovel and placed on a conveyor belt, via a hopper into the main recycling building.

The material is passed through a trommel, screen and magnets and if necessary, a picking station to remove all recyclable material and primary metals before being screened to produce varying sizes of recycled aggregates (IBAA).

The IBAA is then placed either in storage bays or directly on to HGVs for export from the site.

The proposed construction and demolition waste is to be imported using eight wheeled HGVs, which will pass over a weighbridge and the material will be stored before being crushed using a mobile crushing plant between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

The company says noise monitors will be placed around the site.

But Whittlesey North county councillor Chris Boden has warned that if the proposed venture is approved it would be to the detriment of the quality of life for people living nearby.

In a letter of objection, Cllr Boden states: “Local residents whose properties immediately overlook Saxon Pit are fearful that their quality of life would be very severely impacted by the noise generated by the massive increase in heavy commercial vehicle movements proposed in Saxon Pit - the fact that it would also be a 24/7 operation fills them with dread given the prospect of sleepness nights, as noise such as this is well-known to be more intrusive at night than during the daytime.”

He adds: “It is clear that there will be tens of thousands of additional vehicle movements generated by this site’s new activities, which would go through the A605’s junction with the B1040, using the roundabout locally known as the KellyVision or Broad Street roundabout.

“The council’s highways has already identified that this roundabout cannot take significantly greater traffic.”

A letter of objection received by the district council states: “There is already too much noise coming from that site. Of course any increase to activity on this site will lead to even more noise pollution and disturb the town even more than it already has.”

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