Site approved - update
By now, visitors to this site will know that the planning application was approved by the Planning Inspector following a two-day virtual hearing.
The residents put up a valiant fight but were let down by ECDC who offered no credible resistance despite the fact that the plans were opposed by local residents, the Environment Agency, The Flood Authority and the Internal Drainage Board.
We now fear that all the consequences we warned about will come true but, once the damage to our environment is done, it will give us no pleasure to be proved right. We cannot afford to go to Court again but we will continue to do all we can to protect our environment and our quality of life.
But, as the Irish family-owned firm cracked open the champagne, the celebrations have been tempered by the announcement of the disqualification of its Managing Director Eoin McCann and fellow Director Frances McCann for the Company’s involvement in a price-fixing scandal over a seven-year period. FP McCann was also fined over £25m for its involvement in this illegal cartel which, it is now reported, has plunged its latest set of accounts into a loss.
There is a lot wrong in the Planning Inspector’s decision, but the council put up no sort of fight and we just don’t have the funds to take the case to the High Court again. Many of us who live around the proposed factory are pensioners and we just can’t take the risk of allowing this to destroy our financial security as well as our quality of life. Big business has won, and we must now live with the consequences.
This industry is a massive producer of greenhouse gases. If it were a country, the cement industry would be the third largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world. This makes an absolute mockery of the council’s supposed commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our area and just blows all of the targets out of the water.
One member of our group said “I have a one and a half year old child. How can I promise him the quality of life he deserves, when a giant concrete factory next door leaves a massive carbon footprint and pollutes the very air he breathes on a daily basis? In the battle for the Fen's soul, the local residents stood no chance against the big business.”
We put up the best fight we could and tried to explain that the information before the planning hearing was unreliable. But, at the end of the day, the Planning Inspector chose to believe everything FP McCann said despite the fact that its involvement in an illegal cartel and the disqualification of its Directors for dishonest practices was in the public domain.
It is just our misfortune that we happened to live here when this Company moved into our area. We will suffer the consequences but it is our children who will need to deal with the environmental damage.
The fight will go on.