A group of West Norfolk environmental campaigners hopes to have inspired council chiefs to pursue greener ways of dealing with the county’s waste after organising a conference on the issue.
Officials from the King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) campaign group met county and district council chiefs at the Adnams brewery in Southwold on Thursday, where they were shown the company’s anaerobic digestion facilities.
The meeting was called in a bid by the group to move forward following the termination of the contract for the controversial Saddlebow scheme by Norfolk County Council in April.
Although short-term solutions, such as sending waste to incinerators in Suffolk and Holland have been examined as alternatives at County Hall, the group maintains that smaller, local solutions are a cheaper and more sustainable way forward.
And the group’s chairman, Dr Martin Little, said that, though they were still working to ensure the development was not given planning permission by the government, they want to help the area’s political leaders to find better solutions for the future.
He added: “We intend to do whatever we can to guide and inform the debate as to the future of waste treatment in Norfolk and the Adnams event was our first step down this road.”
Representatives of authorities including West Norfolk Council, Breckland district council and Norfolk County Council attended the meeting, which discussed a number of possible waste management solutions.
The agenda included a presentation on West Norfolk’s weekly food waste collection programme, which has collected thousands of tonnes of waste since it was launched last year, as well as a tour of Adnams’ anaerobic digestion plant.
The company, which also gave delegates the chance to taste of some of its beers, uses to dispose of both brewery waste and other organic waste from the local area.
The process produces natural gas which can then be pumped directly into the grid.
And Joan Marc Simon, of Zero Waste Europe, flew in from Madrid to give a presentation on large-scale projects in Spain and Italy which, with the support of local people, have helped to double recycling rates, from 40 to 80 per cent, in only four years
KLWIN founder and committee member Michael de Whalley said: “We hope that the councils went away both inspired and motivated to make the most of the opportunity provided by the demise of the incinerator contract to start afresh and build a sustainable future for Norfolk’s waste management that is cost effective and inclusive of public opinion.”