As chairman of King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) I feel that I must respond to the critical letter from Mr Robert Raab regarding KLWIN’s position on the fate of Norfolk’s residual waste.
Mr Raab is correct that this material is incinerated in Energy from Waste plants and cement works in Suffolk, Kent and in locations across the North Sea. He is also correct in stating that KLWIN is opposed to incineration, regardless of location, because it is an environmentally poor way of managing waste.
Norfolk County Council embarked upon this approach to waste treatment as an interim solution to give time for a sensible, sustainable solution to Norfolk’s waste issues to be investigated and put in place. Mr Raab is clearly unaware that KLWIN has been active in seeking out, investigating and discussing alternatives to incineration with NCC. After the defeat of the Saddlebow incinerator KLWIN switched to promoting alternative technologies as a deliberate strategy to help the county to source more appropriate waste solutions. Just how Mr Raab thinks that KLWIN could have prevented the county council’s interim, incineration based solution is difficult to see. The hard fact is that the waste continues to be generated and as landfill is no longer an option just what does he propose should be done with it while environmentally sound solutions are being developed? The situation is even more difficult because our European neighbours came looking for waste to burn, they actually need it! The reason for this is that they did what we did not do, namely build incinerators upon which their local communities became dependant through combined heat and power provision. If the incinerator fires go out the local houses and factories become cold and dark. Even the environmentally minded Swedes now have to import over a million tons of other people’s waste to keep the home fires burning. It is thanks in some part to KLWIN that King’s Lynn is not in a similar situation.
Regarding the future there is still a risk that reactionary forces in NCC may wish to look again at incineration and the people of Norfolk should be on their guard. It has however been KLWIN’s experience since the collapse of the Willows incinerator project that NCC has listened to us and actually invited our views on alternative technologies. It is important to note that there are many providers in the market place trying to sell their solutions to the residual waste problem. Some are innovative and proven, others are speculative and yet to be fully developed, others are pipe dreams and some are close to being fraudulent. KLWIN has been able to contribute to this debate in an informed and constructive manner. If we had objected to the interim waste solution, without being able to suggest an alternative to it that could cope right away with the waste stream, it is unlikely that we would have been taken seriously over the long term sustainable way forward for the county.
There is a new waste strategy for Norfolk due to be launched soon. This document will tell us what the future for waste treatment will look like. KLWIN hopes that the proposals will put the county at the cutting edge of environmentally sustainable waste treatment. If the future looks like incineration here in Norfolk or a continuation of the interim solution as the long term one then KLWIN will need to respond accordingly. In such an event Mr Raab and all those other like-minded people who feel strongly about incineration will be welcome to join in the efforts.
Dr M G Little
Chairman of KLWIN