Ministers have been urged to take account of concerns raised over a phone poll cited in support of the Lynn incinerator project when they make their final decision on the scheme.
The plea was made in a letter by West Norfolk Council chief executive Ray Harding, which was released to the Lynn News yesterday.
In the letter, Mr Harding said the authority had been given evidence which suggested that the results of a 2011 phone survey carried out by the polling company ComRes, which suggested that participants had not been given a full range of options when asked for alternatives to incineration.
As previously reported, the ComRes poll was commissioned by Cory Wheelabrator, the consortium that hopes to build the incinerator at Saddlebow if planning permission is granted.
The letter, which was addressed to the communities secretary Eric Pickles, claimed that an official script of the key question, which was presented to both Norfolk County Council and the government in support of the case for a £169 million government grant to the scheme. had offered recycling, composting and better packaging among the options for dealing with waste that could not be recycled.
However, two respondents are said to have signed statements stating that they were not given those options and were instead given either incineration or landfill or those plus an “other” option.
And Mr Harding said it was “hardly surprising” that the poll could demonstrate support for incineration in that context.
He added: “This reinforces the borough council’s long-held view that the ComRes survey was designed primarily as a spoiling tactic to undermine the borough council’s own local poll, which overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to build a waste incinerator on the edge of King’s Lynn. I trust that you will give due consideration to the information contained within this letter.”
It is understood that members of the King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) campaign group have voiced similar concerns about the conduct of the poll with the British Polling Council, a national association of polling organisations.
ComRes managing director Katherine Peacock yesterday confirmed that participants had only been given four options – landfill, generating energy from waste, other or don’t know – when they were asked the question relating to alternatives.
However, she said that frequently occurring responses, such as more recycling, were quantified and included in the final analysis.
She added that the four options given were consistent with the signed statements cited by the borough council’s letter.