An “emotive” public response sparked by a campaign conducted by the Lynn News, as well – as a misleading poll question – have misrepresented the Lynn incinerator plan, the public inquiry was told.
But in cross-examination developers were themselves accused of being “calculated” in their decision not to take part in the local poll held over the scheme two years ago.
John Boldon, for Cory Wheelabrator, said the term “mass-burn incinerator”, which was used in the poll question, was not representative of the scheme proposed for Lynn.
In his written evidence, he said: “The poll was also conducted at a time when the local paper (the Lynn News) and objectors were running an emotive campaign.”
Asked by Richard Phillips QC, for Cory, whether the poll question made clear the plant was an energy recovery facility, Mr Boldon said: “No. That would not have been conveyed to the majority of people who voted.”
But West Norfolk Borough Council barrister Nathalie Lieven QC suggested that a lot of residents had known about the proposal at the time of the poll in February 2011.
However, Mr Boldon, who is director of planning for Cory Environmental insisted: “They knew on the basis of misinformation and highly emotive comments.”
And he was critical of what he claimed was a lack of balance in the press coverage of the proposal so far – describing the Lynn News’ reporting as “alarmist.”
He also attacked West Norfolk Borough Council chief executive Ray Harding for suggesting that Cory Wheelabrator should seek the agreement of Norfolk County Council before submitting a statement to be circulated with voting papers for the local poll.
But Nathalie Lieven QC, for the West Norfolk Council, suggested the company had eventually decided not to take part because they “calculated” they could then claim the poll was flawed.
Mr Boldon rejected that claim.
He also dismissed Ms Lieven’s assertion that questions in the Comres poll implied all possible recycling would be undertaken before material was burned.
Mr Boldon said: “For you to say someone would expect every ounce of material to be recycled is divorced from reality.”
The poll was commissioned by the consortium, which asked for support for the incinerator.