Anger as free speech stifled

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OUTRAGE was sparked when Norfolk County Council’s officers were given extra time to make their presentation while objectors were stymied.

Planning officer Nick Palmer was given nearly an hour – almost double his allotted time – to put the case to the planning committee.

Committee chairman John Rodgers allowed the officer extra time stating that the public and objectors “wanted” to hear the presentation but denied West Norfolk Council’s planning portfolio holder Vivienne Spikings’ request for Henry Bellingham MP to have extra time.

Mr Palmer told the meeting that the decision to release the £91 million DEFRA credits “proved with a degree of certainty that the project can be delivered”.

The committee heard that parish council and public objections included the incinerator’s effect on health, air pollution and the local economy along with concerns about local democracy.

Mr Palmer said: “There was a poll conducted by West Norfolk Council before the application was received, 65,000 people voted against an incinerator in principle.

“That was a vote against an incinerator not against this particular application.”

He later went on to tell the committee that the strength of local objection was a material consideration in deciding on the application.

But Mr Palmer added: “However these objections have to be backed up by sound evidence and in this case we consider there is no soundly based objective evidence to back up these objections.”

n The meeting was supposed to be broadcast to an overflow room in County Hall full of objectors. But one told the Lynn News: “The audio was a shambles throughout – including the final votes where we heard nothing whatsoever.”