Campaigners’ relief as Norfolk County Council says final no to incineration

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Anti-incineration campaigners say they are relieved after the technology was finally ruled out of Norfolk’s future waste management plans.

Opponents had feared that a committee vote last month could have helped to revive controversial proposals to build an incinerator on the outskirts of Lynn.

But Norfolk County Council voted today, Monday, December 15, overwhelmingly to reinstate a recommendation that incineration should not be considered as a means of dealing with the county’s rubbish.

Mike Knights, vice-chairman of the King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) pressure group, which spearheaded the fight against the Saddlebow proposal, said: “It has been a very good day for Lynn and for Norfolk as a whole.”

And Alexandra Kemp, divisional councillor for Clenchwarton and Lynn South, which includes the disputed Willows Business Park site, said the decision was “a huge relief.”

A waste advisory panel, which was set up following the council’s move to terminate its contract for an incinerator at Saddlebow in April, had initially recommended that the method should not be considered.

That decision was overturned by the authority’s environment, development and transport (ETD) committee in November.

But the council voted 64 to nil, with 12 abstentions, to reverse that decision during a meeting today.

That means that future waste management plans must find more environmentally friendly ways of disposing of the county’s rubbish than either burning it or putting it in landfill sites.

Critics had feared that, by allowing incineration to be looked at again, the council was leaving itself open to another costly planning failure.

Since terminating its deal with Cory Wheelabrator, who still hope to build an incinerator if they are granted planning permission, the council has had to pay out around £34 million in compensation.

Mr Knights said: “I am delighted with the decision, it is fantastic.

“It would have been nice if we could have avoided all this and the huge waste of money but at least they have come up with the right decision in the end.”

In a separate debate, a motion which called for the Willows site to be sold to West Norfolk Council was withdrawn after no-one came forward to second it.

However, an alternative resolution, proposed by UKIP group leader and ETD chairman Toby Coke, was passed by 66 votes to six, with six abstentions.

Mr Coke called for the county council to retain ownership of the land until it was no longer required and not to sell it to any individual or organisation that proposed to build an incinerator.

He argues the authority will need the land to pursue its chosen solution, when that has been determined.

There have been suggestions that the site could house a plant for the borough council’s preferred contractor, Material Works, whose three month extension to its contract with the borough began last week.