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Flag Fen

Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork


Don't Let Flag Fen Suffer Like Thornborough, Campaigner Warns

A heritage campaigner has warned that Flag Fen could become the next Thornborough if plans to plans to build a waste processing plant near the famous Bronze Age site succeed.

George Chaplin told the 24 Hour Museum that a vast waste processing plant at Flag Fen could affect the site in the same way as quarrying has affected Thornborough.

"We at Time Watch are very concerned that Flag Fen could be turned into another Thornborough," he said. "Sites like Flag Fen, which are already established as being extremely important, have been invested in," he added, "and because of the investment we've already made what we should avoid at all costs is ruining that."

The company behind the planning application is Global Olivine UK, which hopes to build a £220 million 38-acre waste processing plant to recycle waste and turn it into electricity.

While George suggested that many of the 20,000 visitors who flock to Flag Fen every year would inevitably be put off by the industrial plant, he also highlighted the potential for damage to archaeology still in the ground.

"We are concerned about the impact on archaeology by things like leakage," he said, "and the impact on the local environment." All this, he added, when instead we should be "turning Flag Fen into our archaeological flagship."

His words follow the concerns, reported by the 24 Hour Museum last week, of Flag Fen Manager Toby Fox: "It's absolutely on top of us. We are very concerned," he said. "On a 30-acre site, the amount of rainfall that will hit a concrete slab and be used in the cooling towers will have a direct effect on the surrounding land," he said. "It won't be keeping the archaeological remains wet. We're trying desperately to protect our heritage and we feel that this will compromise that."

Heritage experts and members of the Flag Fen team are not the only worried voices. On June 23 it was reported in the city's Evening Telegraph newspaper that Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has called for a public inquiry into the plans. The same publication has also run stories relaying the reservations of residents and businesses in the area.

According to Peterborough City Council, the plans will not be approved or disapproved by them. Instead, because it is an electricity generating plant, it falls within the Electricity Act, putting responsibility for making a decision in the hands of the Department for Trade and Industry.

The council's role is as one of several consultees who will advise the DTI on the application. Council officers will put together a report for councillors to consider, following which their views and recommendations will be presented to the DTI. The deadline for submission is late September.

Despite its restricted role, the council told the 24 Hour Museum that it would be taking archaeological, as well as other environmental, concerns into account.

"Council officers are carefully evaluating all aspects of the planning application," reads a statement, "including the proposed development's likely impact on highways, archaeological sites, air quality, landscape, wildlife, ground water regime, water pollution, waste management and noise nuisance to nearby residential and commercial properties."

The 24 Hour Museum tried to contact Global Olivine, but calls and emails were unanswered.

From the article at the 24 Hour Museum
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
25th June 2005ce
Edited 25th June 2005ce

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