EXPERTS have highlighted a potential flood risk in plans for a £100m incinerator near Bicester.
Waste firm Viridor wants to build an incinerator at its landfill site at Ardley Fields, which could burn up to 300,000 tonnes of the county’s waste each year.
The Ardley site is one of two identified for an Oxfordshire incinerator — the other is in Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon.
But last night the Environment Agency raised questions over Viridor’s plans to contain floodwater on the Ardley site.
Experts are concerned an earth mound, known as a bund, around a large surface water management pond could leak, potentially flooding nearby Bicester Road.
Environment Agency planning officer Sarah Green said: “There will have to be a 2m-high raised bund holding all the water in place around the pond.
“We are concerned about what would happen if the bund fails to hold the water.
“The information we have initially received from Viridor suggests there could be a risk of flooding to a sewage treatment works and the Bicester Road.
“We have asked Viridor to investigate what could be done to address that.
“Viridor are aware of our concerns and are working on overcoming these issues.”
Viridor spokesman Victor Peres-Mares said: “We have listened to the agency’s recommendations and have accordingly amended our planning application to address any issues.
“In correspondence submitted to the agency last week, we have demonstrated the facility is not vulnerable to ground and surface water flooding as the facility is to be built on the quarry floor above the level of groundwater.
“The agency agreed to remove their objection to the use of pumps on site and we’re just waiting for written confirmation to be sent to us. The use of pumps would be occasional, particularly when heavy rainfall over a short period of time occurred.
“Our proposals have been designed to safely provide a sustainable waste management solution to Oxfordshire.”
Last month, the Environment Agency requested further information from Waste Recycling Ltd, which is proposing the Sutton Courtenay incinerator.
The agency asked for the applicant’s air quality assessment to be amended to take into account the effect of emissions from the incinerator combining with those from Didcot power station’s cooling towers.
Callum MacKenzie a spokesman for campaign group Sutton Courtenay Against the Incinerator, said: “At the moment, we are waiting for Waste Recycling Ltd to resubmit an amended planning application.
“We think the plan for an incinerator is an assault on the village and will continue to fight the proposals.”
Thanks to Oxford Mail and particularly Mark Bassett.