West Norfolk councillors’ waste warning after county talks

Candidates for the Norfolk County Council Elections May 2013 ENGANL00120130426152949
Candidates for the Norfolk County Council Elections May 2013 ENGANL00120130426152949
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A deal to send West Norfolk’s waste to European incinerators is not satisfactory and more should be done to find greener solutions, borough councillors have warned.

A new Norfolk County Council contract, which came into force last month, sees the county’s waste sent to processing centres in Costessey, Rackheath and Wisbech, before being shipped to incinerators in Holland and Germany.

But critics fear the technology could be allowed back into the county unless anti-incineration policies are reiterated.

And borough council leaders have claimed the new arrangements could cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds because of the implications for its own waste deal.

Environment portfolio holder Brian Long told Thursday’s full council meeting the authority’s position was “very clear” and he would back any anti-incineration resolution at county level.

Two motions re-stating opposition to the technology were passed at a recent meeting of the county’s waste advisory group.

But, answering a question from Labour’s Ian Gourlay, he admitted he was not happy with the new processing arrangements.

Mr Long said: “We are instructed by Norfolk County Council where our waste should go.

“They have instigated a scheme where waste is moved from landfill, baled and shipped and burnt in Holland and Germany. Is that satisfactory? No.

“Is the county looking at a long-term solution not involving incineration? Yes, they probably are, but your Labour-controlled council need to be told that incineration is not acceptable to the people in West Norfolk.”

Mr Gourlay said it would be “a little bit hypocritical” to oppose incineration in West Norfolk and support the technology’s use elsewhere.

Opponents have also called for the county to retain the power to set its own waste strategy even if it chooses to enter any devolution deal.

Although Norfolk decided not to build an incinerator at Saddlebow, a similar facility is operating in Suffolk and some Norfolk waste is being sent there.