The owners of Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited look for eight more members to join a social responsibility committee which will monitor and sign off the actions of the company as they develop and run a waste to energy facility in Fengate Peterborough.
Broadcast at 07:37 on Friday July 16th 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show hosted by Paul Stainton on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL: Work on Peterborough’s new energy park .. good news here .. is expected to start in the coming months. The two hundred and fifty million pound energy from waste plant will be built in Fengate producing the equivalent power for sixty thousand homes for a year which is good news, isn’t it? The company behind it Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited are now looking for members of the community to join their social responsibility committee. What does it mean? Well to explain I’m joined by MD of PREL Chris Williams and in the studio Gerry Warren. Good morning Gerry ..
PAUL: .. Chair of Peterborough for Responsible Waste Management. Morning Chris. How are you?
CHRIS: Morning Paul and Gerry. Good thank you.
PAUL: Chris first of all. What is the latest then? Give us the latest gen.
CHRIS: It’s not quite within the month, it’s within the year. We’re just finalising contracts, so we can actually start the build process this year.
PAUL: So in the coming months, yes?
CHRIS: Correct, yes.
PAUL: Good stuff. So we’re close to putting a spade in the ground?
CHRIS: (LAUGHS) Yes. Closer than we were ten years ago.
PAUL: (LAUGHS) Yes. Very much so. So what is this social responsibility committee? It all sounds a bit worthy. Is that the case here?
CHRIS: It’s what it says on the tin. And maybe Gerry’s the best one to explain that one.
PAUL: Gerry, what is a social responsibility committee? And is it a bit worthy? Can you just put it in layman’s terms for me?
GERRY: Well keep it simple it’s an opportunity for people to participate in the environmental management. People were concerned about this park being built, and about the impact it would have on the surrounding residential industrial zone. And this is their opportunity to take part in seeing that the standards that are required to be met by the planning consent and the Environment Agency are in fact properly managed and met.
PAUL: So Chris, it’s not some sort of sop is it? It’s a proper check and balance.
CHRIS: Oh extremely. It’s a committee where we have two seats I think out of the twelve. Open book. They review, in fact we welcome the input that community and people like Gerry can have to structuring our environmental management programme. And it’s also something Government is very interested in, how you get community involved with projects. And that is the best approach to succeeding with a good community project is to have the community in it. Sounds logical, but not often done.
PAUL: No. Gerry, you’re already on the committee.
GERRY: I’ve been invited by proforwm to represent and we have two seats on the committee too.
PAUL: Yes. And what sort of people are we looking for here to ..?
GERRY: Well we’re looking for people representing local community groups, or nobody if they just want to be on it. But people who are genuinely from Peterborough, live here, live with the consequences of this park and want to take an interest in their own environment and have some input into seeing how it’s protected and to reassure themselves as the processes are used and as the plant is operated that the standards are being kept. We wanted to get away from this adversarial kind of we’re against you or we’ve got to fight over it and there’s no area in the middle where you can work. We believe that this technology is reasonably clean and one of the better solutions to our waste problems which are very real, and therefore we have to do something and it’s best if we’ve got to do something to see that it’s done properly.
PAUL: Chris just remind the people of Peterborough exactly what you’re building, how big it is, and what it does.
CHRIS: It’s an energy park that will deal with waste, regardless of whether it be commercial waste at the back of your offices, or household waste that might find it’s way into the system. We will convert it into recyclant. We will take only the biomass, the woody natural part, and convert that for energy. And then we have a plasma facility that will clean that up, all the air pollution control residues, but also recycle batteries, glass, lightbulbs, into new products, so that what leaves the plant is new products. It sits behind the power station. It will look like the ProLogic warehouse buidings that you’ve got just off the Parkway as you come into Peterborough.
PAUL: Mmm. Ok. And will this committee be able to have a real say in how you run this place? If they say we don’t like the way you’re doing that, you’re bringing lorries in at ten o’ clock at night with waste, you need to bring them in at seven in the morning, will they be able to make a difference and change your mind on certain things?
CHRIS: They will. They already have. This isn’t something that’s come after planning, this has evolved through the three years of planning development. And the committee is there to help review and input into a safe transport movement, monitoring, information, new improvements, making sure that … there’s a hundred and sixty thousand residents. They’re all researching, as Gerry’s done in the past. Bring information to us that says, this works, have you tried using this? And we can bring that into the management in our system.
PAUL: Well we look forward to seeing it all working together, and seeing you get the spade in the ground Chris. Let us know when you get the spade out won’t you?
CHRIS: We’ll celebrate.
PAUL: (LAUGHS) Ok. Chris Williams from Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited who are building this waste plant, and Gerry as well, Gerry Warren Chair of Peterborough for Responsible Waste Management. Thank you for coming in this morning.