WITHAM MP Priti Patel has slammed the Environment Agency's decision to give the go-ahead for the controversial waste site.

Home Secretary Ms Patel is a longstanding opponent of the Rivenhall incinerator and called on the Environment Agency to explain its decision.

She said: “This decision defies common sense and it is unclear why the widespread concerns of communities across this part of Essex have been ignored.

"The incinerator will cause considerable harm to the environment and the fact that it has taken a decade after planning permission was first granted to get this far, shows how flawed the original decision was.”

“I have been working closely with the local communities affected and campaigners to oppose this harmful and damaging development and will continue to do so.

"There remain many unanswered questions and the Environment Agency has failed to explain their decision and have not yet fully responded to the many concerns expressed by the public about the permit application.”

The proposal to grant the permit is subject to a further stage of public consultation, due to last until February 6.

Ms Patel, who has also called on the Environment Agency to hold more drop-in events to inform the public about this decision after it was announced that there would be just one public session this Friday at Rivenhall Village Hall, said: "The development of the waste incinerator will have a harmful affect across this part of Essex.

"The Environment Agency must recognise this and give more local communities the opportunity to question this decision and respond to the consultation.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "We are keen to hear from anyone who wants to have their say on our proposal before we make a final decision.

"Our draft decision document sets out in detail the reasoning for our current proposed decision.

"The draft decision document also provides details of our consideration of those issues/concerns raised by the public during the consultation earlier this year."