Issues Further Afield


Developments further afield can have a detrimental affect on our Town, this page attempts to document those potential developments so you are informed and in a position to engage with the issues



 Ampthill Further Afield - Contents

 Covanta Energy | Center Parks - Woburn Forest


 Covanta Energy

The facility - known as Rookery South Resource Recovery Facility - will convert on average 585,000 tonnes of residual waste per year into 65MWe of electricity, of which 55MWe would be exported to the national grid. That's enough green electricity to power approx. 82,500 homes. The site is at Rookery Pit near to Millbrook. Concerns have been raised concerning the environmental impact of the facility, the enormous number of lorries that will service the site and how it will impact on the scenery of the Marston Vale.

Covanta Incinerator Given Go Ahead

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has announced that the American waste management firm, Covanta, has been granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) to build an Energy from Waste Facility at the former Rookery Clay Pit,  at Stewartby, in the heart of rural Central Bedfordshire.

The incinerator, which will burn around 585,000 tonnes of waste and generate 65 MW of electricity a year, is so large that the application by-passed the local planning system. The application is the first to be considered by the IPC, and could be the only one to be determined by them, before power passes to the accountable government Minister.
The consent has been granted in the face of widespread local opposition and despite being contrary to local planning policies which have been subject to lengthy consultation and examination.
An Environmental Permit still has to be obtained by Covanta from the Environment Agency before the incinerator can operate to ensure it complies with environmental legislation.
Parish/Central Beds Cllr Sue Clark, who led the Town and Parish Councils' opposition said: 'This is a very sad day for the Marston Vale. It represents an enormous backwards step for the Vale, where life has improved immeasurably since the closure of the brickworks and Brogborough Landfill site. Now we face the unwelcome prospect of a return to the importation of huge quantities of waste into Central Bedfordshire, and a re-industrialisation of the Vale.
It is particularly frustrating that, even though the IPC recognised the size and scale of the incinerator as a 'major disbenefit' describing the visual effect as 'overwhelming' at close quarters, they still decided the national need for electricity production was more important.
We had a number of issues with the IPC process, which we felt was difficult for members of the public to follow, lacked transparency, and was too heavily based on written, rather than cross examined, evidence. More opportunity should be provided for local evidence to be heard, and for opposing parties to challenge the evidence produced by the applicant.'

Contact: Sue Clark 01234752672, 07875191978,


Ampthill Town Council's objections to the building of the Covanta Incinerator at Rookery South Pit, Nr. Stewartby

Transport and Traffic Impacts

  • The traffic volumes will be beyond the existing and predicted capacity of the road
    infrastructure with huge potential for congestion further afield at key junctions in Milton
    Keynes and the motorway network and the traffic arrival and departure times will lead to
    significant disturbance, traffic congestion and noise to surrounding communities.
  • Should this facility be built it stands to reason that local waste trucks will go straight to the
    site thereby increasing local traffic.
  • There is no assessment for alternative routes when the Ml or A421 is closed. Traffic would
    be using the local roads therefore causing major traffic congestion locally. Ampthill has a
    7.5 ton weight limit which is frequently ignored.
  • Covanta have yet to determine how "local" waste will be transported to the site. In 5.6.1 it
    states that "Only local RCV's (Refuse Collection Vehicles) will be permitted to access the
    Rookery Pit via Stewartby as these vehicles will already be on the local highway network."
    If the local waste is transported by RCV's, according to the above, they will be permitted to
    access the pit via Stewartby, and therefore have access to all of our local transport network
    and communities. This will of course make their current traffic plans irrelevant.
  • Despite the fact that Rookery Pit lies between two rail lines all waste to the EFW will be
    delivered by road.
  • There has been no consultation by Covanta on the impact of the proposed impact on
    communities beyond the Marston Vale.

Waste Management

  • There is no stipulation for commercial waste so potentially the facility could be operating 24
    hours a day, seven days a week up to 365 days of the year.
  • The EFW will undermine local waste strategy and discourage recycling.
  • There is a possibility that green waste could be sent to the EFW in order to fulfill
    contractual tonnage obligations which would defeat the object of recycling.
  • Promote local responsibility in the collection and disposal of waste - the proximity principle
    - unless where we voluntarily combine with other local authorities freely combine to form
    Joint Waste Authorities.
  • We need solutions that will best meet local needs.

Landscape & Visual Impact

  • Sheer size of the building will dominate the skyline - most of which will be visible above
    the edge of Rookery Pit.
  • The size of the plant will have a major impact on the visual quality of the landscape and will
    adversely impair the views from the Vale to the surrounding Greensand Ridge and the
    panoramic views from the ridge, especially those seen from Ampthill Great Park a Grade II
    listed historic park and Houghton House ruins, a Grade I English Heritage site.
  • The building and chimney will be seen very clearly from Katherine's Cross, which is
    surrounded by a Scheduled Ancient Monument area in Ampthill Park and will not blend
    into the landscape. (Photographs attached showing view from Ampthill Park).
  • Local policy seeks to protect, conserve and enhance the County's scheduled ancient
    monuments, conservation area's, parks and gardens and their settings. The proposed EFW is contrary to these policies.
  • The facility could attract additional industrial activity which would further alter the rural
    character of the Vale.
  • The stack would be higher than the disused brickworks chimneys and the plume will
    accentuate the stack visibility.
  • Table 11.3 states that the EFW facility can be compared to wind farms. There is nothing
    similar apart from the height of the wind turbines and they have no plume.
  • Ampthill Town Council feel that the Inspector from the IPC should visit all view points
    submitted by Covanta to get a real feel of the visual impact this facility will have on the
    surrounding area.

Air Emissions

  • Residents are concerned about reports that Covanta has been served legal improvement
    notices on its plants in the USA which has lower standards than the UK.
  • There is serious concern about emissions from the EFW stack and long term health
  • Although Covanta's submission reassures about the emissions from the chimney there
    seems to be some doubt as to the nano particles which could be emitted and that could
    contain dioxins and other harmful material. These apparently cannot be monitored.
  • Local residents and visitors have had past experience when the brickworks were at their
    most productive of the cloud produced by the temperature inversion which covered the
    Marston Vale for days at a time producing sulphur and other noxious odours.
  • In the sky above Marston Vale there is the meteorological phenomenon of temperature
    inversion - on still days emissions linger in the atmosphere immediately above the Vale and
    eventually drop into the Vale. When inversion is not occurring the prevailing wind is south

Biodiversity and Geological Conservation

  • The surrounding villages are all within a rural landscape populated by residents who wish to
    preserve their rural way of life.
  • To situate the EFW within Rookery Pit South adjacent to the Marston Vale Millennium
    Country Park - a primary purpose of which is to re-forest the Marston Vale - would be a
    retrograde step ecologically and lead to significant habitat loss and ultimately the
    industrialisation of Rookery Pit South.

Dust, Odour, Artificial Light, Smoke, Steam and Insect Infestation

  • There will also be permanent loss of night sky with severe light pollution from site
    operating 24/7.
  • A high proportion of the heat produced by an incinerator is dissipated into the environment.
    Unless there is a zonal heating scheme, all cooling will be into the atmosphere as heat


  • We are not convinced that the proposed facility will enhance the local economy as there is
    no guarantee that the jobs ongoing or in consideration will be offered to local people.
  • An incinerator will not become a popular tourist destination.
  • The electricity generating capacity of the EFW in terms of average domestic consumption is
  • The abolition of regional spatial strategies undermines much of the socio-economic
    justification for the EFW for future housing projections and the waste theoretically arising.
  • There will be a detrimental effect on existing property prices which in turn will depress
    economic activity and undermine the ambition of local communities to develop as tourist
    destinations and not somewhere other communities send their waste.


  • There will be significant disturbance from the intermittent noise of HGV's and the
    continuous noise from the EFW itself in a tranquil setting.
  • Domestic waste would be delivered between 0700hrs and 1800hrs weekday and 0700hrs to
    1400hrs Saturday and with no stipulation for commercial waste the facility could be
    operating 24/7, 365 days per year.


The whole of the Vale does not currently contain heavy industry and is a peaceful area of the countryside enjoyed by local people and visitors alike for its stunning views. The Forest of Marston Vale is one of 12 Community Forests throughout England working to improve the countryside around our towns and cities.

Ampthill Town Council are of the opinion that the IPC should conclude that this proposal is the wrong solution to dealing with waste in the proposed catchment area and in the wrong location. 

To learn more visit:

Center Parcs - Woburn Forest

Fordfield Road, Millbrook

Center Parcs won a planning appeal to build a fifth holiday village at Warren Wood, near Ampthill, as Mid Beds District Council had originally opposed the plan.

The company spent over £200 million on the development of the site, Center Parcs Woburn Forest. The new village has been built in an area of woodland, that had been managed for commercial forestry use by the Bedford Estate. Center Parcs Woburn Forest comprises 700 forest villas, a 75-bed hotel and spa with 12 associated spa apartments and two main centres including indoor sports, swimming pool, restaurants and retail outlets.  It also includes outdoor sports and leisure facilities and a lake. The development has created 1,500 jobs among other economic benefits.

The facility opened in 2014. The much needed Millbrook Crossroads roundabout arose from the planning gain from the developmeny

Website: Center Parcs - Woburn Forest