Residents who fought against a proposed incinerator are gearing up for another battle after plans were submitted to store a “mountain” of ash near their villages.

Barton Stacey and Longparish residents are objecting to plans submitted by Fortis IBA Ltd to build a 5m-high concrete storage area for incinerator bottom ash aggregate (IBAA) at the Enviropark on the A303, which is produced as a by-product of waste incinerators.

It can be used as aggregate for road building, with Fortis saying the facility is needed to “provide an essential increase in material storage capacity at the Enviropark”.

However, residents and politicians dispute the necessity of the site, with Caroline Nokes, the area’s MP, accusing the company of “seeking to exploit the emergency measures needed in the pandemic”.

The Enviropark is located to the north of the A303 and Barton Stacey, and is built on former MoD land. One of its facilities at the site is an IBA processing plant, refining the ash into aggregate fit for construction use, with ash brought from across the country for processing.

During the pandemic, “emergency use” of the site for storing IBAA was granted by Hampshire County Council (HCC), with up to 30,000 tonnes piled up at the site as demand for construction materials dropped. This permission expired at the end of March, with a planning application put in to make the arrangement permanent.

Under the new plans, a large concrete area will be created near the same site, surrounded by 5m high mounds made of excavated material and soil, to store tens of thousands of tonnes of IBAA. During construction, around an acre of trees will be cleared.

The site is near to that of a proposed incinerator, which was at the heart of an ongoing community campaign against it. Residents, councils and campaigners came together to fight the plans before it was abandoned.

Now, the same groups that fought the incinerator coming together once again, with residents dismayed history appears to be repeating itself.

Longparish resident Henry Yelf said: “We successfully fought off an incinerator plan that would have polluted this area, only to be faced with a plan to pollute the area with the product of an incinerator.”

One of their main concerns is the need to make the site permanent. Planning documents submitted by Fortis say that in non-pandemic times, there is “strong demand for the IBAA produced at the A303 site,” with residents querying why the store is therefore necessary.

Longparish naturalist Paul Knipe said: “If demand for IBAA had previously been ‘strong’, as they say, it is bound to pick up again once Covid restrictions have been lifted. So, what is the need to make the dump permanent? In our view, none.”

MP Caroline Nokes accused the company of ‘exploiting’ the pandemic to get permission for the store in a “sensitive location”.

She said: ““I appreciate that during lockdown there has not been a market for the IBAA, but it is not sustainable from an environmental perspective to have a long term facility of this type so close to the aquifer.”

However, Fortis disputes this, saying that the permanent site is required because of planning requirements after the emergency permission expired.

They said: “The advent of 2021 continues to bring significant risk of disruption to operations associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, emphasising the critical need for additional storage capacity at the Enviropark. There remains significant uncertainty around the duration and severity of impacts from the pandemic.

“The requirement of the authorities for the use of the land to be regularised in planning terms and for continued use (beyond March 2021) to be carried out upon an impervious surface, necessitates the submission of a planning application.”

They add that an impervious concrete surface is necessary to manage “long-term environmental risks”, something that forms another key component of the villagers’ objections. In particular, there is concern about a chalk aquifer lying under the site which supplies water to surrounding areas.

Describing the ash, Paul said: “The substance is dusty, creates an unpleasant odour and must be protected from leaching into the chalk aquifer contaminating spring flow, feeding the internationally famous Hampshire chalk streams.”

IBAA contains hexavalent chromium, which is a toxic and carcinogenic compound, as well as a number of heavy metals.

In order to mitigate this, Fortis says that the concrete base will ensure these compounds do not leach into the ground. A lagoon would also be constructed to provide storage of water, and give the capacity to accommodate rainwater in “extreme” events.

Concerns have also been raised about other impacts on the environment, including smells and noise pollution. The trees which are due to be cut down at the site will be replaced by trees and shrubs on the mounds if planning permission is granted.

Philip and Juliet Cotton, who live near to the Enviropark, say that they have noticed “noise, dust and smells have increased dramatically, as well as light pollution, at the stop of our hill.”

In response, Fortis say that they undertake dust suppression at the site by spraying water “when required”. They added that the nearest houses are around 300m from the site, and following advice from The Institute of Air Quality Management, that “the impact on dust disamenity at these receptors is considered to be negligible.”

The plans are currently being considered at HCC, with residents invited to comment on the plans. More than 50 objections have currently been made, including those from residents and parish councils.

The consultation was closed on April 16, but following concerns being raised by objectors, it was reopened, with residents being urged to have their say on the plans.

Caroline Nokes said: “I would urge local people to make sure they send their comments to HCC as soon as possible, and make it clear a permanent stockpile would have an enormously detrimental impact on the sensitive landscape and environment.”

Comments can be made by contacting, for the attention of Philip Millard, with the application reference 21/00812/CMAN.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “This planning application is yet to be determined. However, we can confirm that responses to the public consultation, which ended on 16 April, will be taken into account when the report is compiled with a recommendation on the decision to be made.”