CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a new incinerator in a village have been approved by experts.

The Environment Agency has today confirmed it has granted a revised permit for a waste management facility at Rivenhall Airfield.

It means applicants Gent Fairhead and Indaver now have permission to build and operate an incinerator - which will be accompanied with a 35m chimney stack.

The Environment Agency had previously issued a permit back in 2017 for the waste plant along with a 58m chimney.

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Gent Fairhead was unable to obtain planning permission for the 58m chimney but did have consent to build a 35m chimney.

The applicant therefore sought to revise it's environmental permit and following years of discussions - as well as a public consultation earlier this - has now both planning permission and permit in place to build the incinerator.

Environment Agency officer Frank Saunders said: "Following detailed technical scrutiny of the proposals over the last 20 months, together with careful consideration of all received consultation responses, we have now decided to issue a permit variation.

"Our technical assessment concluded that the proposed design changes will deliver an equivalent level of environmental protection compared to the rigorous standards required under the current permit.

"We recognise that we are now allowing a stack height (35 metres) that we originally rejected in 2016.

"However, we believe that a lower stack is acceptable but only in conjunction with the significantly lower emission limits.

"We are also satisfied that the additional pollution control techniques proposed by the company will ensure that the stricter emission standards can be met in practice.

"Based on our detailed examination of air dispersion modelling, we believe the design changes will not result in any significant change to current local air quality and that no human health thresholds will be exceeded. As a result, we believe the design changes meet the legal requirement for Best Available Techniques."

The Environment Agency says the revised permit will see stricter limits on emissions of oxides of nitrogen (so called NOx), sulphur dioxide and lower limits for certain heavy metals.

In order to meet the stricter limits, Gent Fairhead's application also proposed enhanced ways of reducing pollution and the impacts of it, known as pollution abatement.