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19 June 2005
Threat to Flag Fen

In a clash between ancient history and new technology, fears have been raised that Peterborough's renowned Flag Fen site could be forced to close if a giant waste plant is built. Each year, more than 20,000 people visit the celebrated site in Fourth Drove, Fengate (England), which is recognised as one of the most important Bronze Age sites in Europe. It was discovered by Dr Francis Pryor in 1982 when a piece of timber was spotted sticking out of the peat by archaeologists looking for a Roman road.
     Dr Pryor said he had "serious reservations" about the controversial plans to build the Global Olivine energy-from-waste recycling site, which will cover 29 acres and dwarf Flag Fen. He said: "The proposal as it currently stands gives me serious worries that it will adversely affect the undisturbed archaeological deposits on the site. I also have concerns about the visual impact of the scheme and the way this will affect how visitors experience our Flag Fen."
     Dr Pryor has already said that the archaeologists are in a race against time because the wet Fenland soil which is preserving the remnants of ancient civilisations is now drying out. His fear is that this new plant will accelerate the deterioration of the land, and further clues to our history will be lost forever.
     Flag Fen general manager Toby Fox said: "We do have a number of concerns about the plant. Firstly, that it is going to take up a lot of rainfall, which is vital to preserve the wet Fenland soil. The technology involved does sound interesting, and it could be a good way to cut down on landfill, but the positioning of the plant couldn't be worse from our point of view.
     Chris Williams, managing director of Global Olivine, said: "We are going to work closely with Flag Fen to alleviate any concerns they may have." The city council, which has no power to stop the plan, is due to meet in August to consider its formal response, taking account of residents' views, environment issues, and planning policies. Detailed proposals for the site in Storey's Bar Road, Fengate, are now on display at www.peterborough.gov.uk

Source: Peterborough Today (16 June 2005)

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