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Incinerator impact on West Norfolk not fully assessed, council report suggests

Officials in West Norfolk have voiced concerns about how the potential impact of a proposed new waste incinerator on the edge of the borough has been assessed.

A special meeting of the borough council’s planning committee will take place later this week to examine the proposal for land off Algores Way, Wisbech.

The authority has already expressed “in principle” opposition to the scheme, after a motion against it received near-unanimous support in February.

West Norfolk councillors are being urged to renew their opposition to plans for a large incinerator, similar to this, on the edge of the borough.
West Norfolk councillors are being urged to renew their opposition to plans for a large incinerator, similar to this, on the edge of the borough.

And a report to be presented to the special session this Friday, August 13, has advised members to restate its concerns.

It said: “It is important to take this consultation opportunity to provide the applicant with a clear position statement on the borough council’s wider community view on the proposed development, reflecting the council motion.”

The plan has been drawn up by Medworth CHP Ltd, a subsidiary of MVV Environmental, which intends to seek a Development Consent Order from the government, following an ongoing consultation programme.

The proposed plant, which the report says would be designed to deal with up to 625,000 tonnes of waste a year, would be built on a 13 acre site around half a mile from the borough border.

The plan also envisages a link to substations at either Walpole or Walsoken, to enable power generated through the incineration process to be fed into the National Grid.

The scheme is considered to be nationally significant because it would have a capacity of above 50 megawatts.

But environmental campaigners have warned that emissions from the site would drift into the borough on prevailing winds, even though the company insists the plan would comply with European air quality standards.

And the council report has questioned why the potential impact on existing air quality management areas in Lynn was not considered.

Although the town falls outside the 15 kilometre radius of an emissions study area envisaged as part of the requirements of securing an environmental permit for the plant, the council says it had already raised the issue with the developer.

The report added: “We asked for a statement as to why they have not been considered further and scoped out. We can find no reference within the EIPR (the developer’s preliminary environmental report) and ask again that a reason is provided as to why they have not been included.

“Air quality monitoring data is available for the BCKLWN area, within the study area, and this should be considered.”

The company's assessments, which are available on the project website, said it was anticipated there would be "no additional significant effects" on air quality from the scheme.

It also pledged to publish weekly emission data for the site if it gets the go-ahead.

It added: "We will offer interested parties the opportunity to stay informed about the positive environmental impacts of our facility.

"A direct comparison of the average daily values with the legal limits will be available on our website."

The borough report also criticised the lack of a heritage assessment on buildings at Oxburgh Hall, which it says were identified as the nearest heritage assets which might be affected by the scheme.

The hall was named in a list of listed buildings within two kilometres of the plant, a temporary construction compound or the grid connection route.

But the council said: “Whilst the impact may be potentially low, this should have been covered. This is of concern.”

The session falls on the final day of a public consultation exercise by the developers which has lasted for several weeks and included events in several West Norfolk villages close to the proposed site.

The borough council will consider the scheme in its role as a statutory consultee.

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