Consortium tells government: ‘We still want to build King’s Lynn incinerator’

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The consortium behind the Lynn incinerator has told the government it still wants to go ahead with the scheme, despite councillors’ decision to walk away from the project.

And Cory Wheelabrator has claimed Norfolk County Council could still use the Saddlebow site as part of its waste management programme if planning permission is granted.

However, almost a year to the day since the public inquiry into the proposal ended, officials say ministers still cannot make a decision because they need to take the latest material submitted by supporters and objectors into account.

A Cory Wheelabrator spokesman said yesterday: “The consortium is focusing on meeting its obligations under the contract termination process.”

However, in new submissions to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), senior planning manager Richard Wilkinson said: “Regardless of whether there is a commercial contract in place or not, we wish to inform the Secretary of State that the planning application remains before him and a decision is awaited.

“We again urge the Secretary of State to end the uncertainty and make a planning decision.”

They also pointed out the contract decision did not state how the county’s waste would be dealt with in the future.

They added: “It would be open for the County Council to consider the proposal alongside other waste treatment and/or disposal options within any future procurement exercise. Alternatively, the option exists for the market to deliver the proposal to meet identified needs.”

But, in his submissions, KLWIN chairman Dr Martin Little claimed supporters of the development had been “irresponsible” in seeking to force an early decision.

They argue that several other projects, including the separate collection and recycling of food waste carried out by West Norfolk Council, reduce the amount of available household waste below the amount allowed for in the contract.

Dr Little said: “The need for an incinerator of this capacity cannot be justified as there is insufficient waste. Planning permission should be refused due to insufficient need.”

Both sides have been given until next week to comment on each other’s submissions.

Yesterday, county council leaders approved a plan for up to 50,000 tonnes of Norfolk’s waste to be treated in a waste incinerator at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, if doing so would save the council money.

Officers say an initial arrangement should be agreed during this financial year and last for up to three years.

Members of the council’s ruling cabinet also backed proposals to fund the £11.3 million shortfall in the compensation required of the authority following its decision to terminate the contract last month.

But officers have been asked to provide further information on the implications of taking just over £1 million from either the county’s road maintenance and library book budgets or the second home council tax receipts that would otherwise be retained by district councils.

West Norfolk Council, which has criticised the idea, will have the chance to comment on the plan along with other district authorities.