Anti-incinerator campaigners have reacted angrily after a Norfolk County Council committee said the method should be considered in future waste management plans.
The decision, taken at a meeting on Tuesday, has renewed fears that the proposed Lynn incinerator could be built after all, despite the contract for it being terminated earlier this year.
But a West Norfolk councillor, who backed the proposal, insisted his vote did not mean he wants to see the scheme for the Willows Business Park site at Saddlebow to proceed.
Members of the council’s environment, development and transport committee were asked to consider 19 policy recommendations drawn up by a waste advisory panel, which was set up in the wake of the decision to end the council’s contract with Cory Wheelabrator in April.
Among them was a commitment not to use incineration as a waste treatment method within Norfolk, although using similar technology outside the county was deemed to be acceptable.
The council has already agreed a contract to send some waste to the Great Blakenham incinerator in Suffolk.
But, during a meeting at County Hall in Norwich on Tuesday, a majority of the committee backed a Conservative proposal to allow the authority to once again consider having an incinerator in Norfolk, a decision described as “unbelievable” by critics.
Mike Knights, vice-chairman of the King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) campaign group, which led the fight against the scheme, asked: “Just how much of our money do these people want to throw down the toilet? It’s unbelievable.
“It shows that, until we get a refusal which I hope we get, these people are as keen as they have ever been to foist an incinerator upon us.”
But Tony White, who represents the Downham division and voted for the change, said it would be “hypocritical” for the council not to consider a disposal method within its own boundaries that it was prepared to use elsewhere.
He said: “It is a bit NIMBY really if we’re sending it elsewhere and not having it as an option to look at.”
He also stressed that the vote was not a declaration of support for the revival of the Lynn project, adding: “We said we won’t do it at Saddlebow.
“I’m sitting on a committee to look at things we can do with this waste.”
However, fellow Conservative John Dobson,who represents the Dersingham division, has already tabled a motion to next month’s full council meeting criticising the decision.
He described the vote as “perverse” and claimed those who supported the new policy were committing “electoral suicide” by re-opening the issue ahead of next year’s polls.
He said: “There is still a number of officers and councillors who wish to see an incinerator built on the Willows site.
“The fact is the odds are stacked against them, but there is a chance it could happen.”
The county councill still owns the Willows site, despite calls for West Norfolk Council to buy the land, and Mr Dobson fears a deal could be done between the county and Cory Wheelabrator if the government grants planning permission for the project.