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It’s back! Campaigners prepare to join new incinerator fight

Campaigners who led the fight to stop a waste incinerator on the edge of Lynn have offered their help against a similar proposal on the West Norfolk border.

It’s nearly six years since the hated Saddlebow project was stopped following a long-running battle spearheaded by King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN).

Now, leading figures in the organisation are gearing up to lend their support to a campaign against a similar scheme proposed for a site at Wisbech, just a few hundred metres from the county boundary.

What the incinerator will look like from Halfpenny Lane
What the incinerator will look like from Halfpenny Lane

UK-based MVV, which is part of German firm MVV Energie AG, announced plans to build a 50 megawatt plant on the site with a £300 million investment in the project back in November.

The aim is to turn waste into electricity and heat for use by big firms in Wisbech such as Nestlé Purina and Lamb Weston

But the move prompted town councillors to immediately launch a ‘No Incinerator in Wisbech’ campaign via Facebook.

Michael de Whalley.
Michael de Whalley.

However, Mr de Whalley said attempts to contact the town council to offer support for the campaign have so far failed.

He described the plan as a “major blow”, adding: “We are desperate to engage with the town council and pass on our experience and offer any support we can.

“This new proposal has far reaching implications not just for Wisbech but for the whole of West Norfolk. The proposed site is only just over the border into Fenland and toxic particles will drift on prevailing winds straight into Norfolk to King’s Lynn and beyond.”

Although it took five years for the Lynn incinerator project to be finally halted, Mr de Whalley fears opponents of the new plan have to act now will have a much harder battle because it is being drawn up as a national infrastructure project, meaning decisions will be taken by the government, not a local planning authority.

He says that is why people who want to stop the project must act now.

KLWIN chairman Martin Little added: “Those with power and influence like the town council, the district council and the MP need to lead the way, and the public needs to get behind them if the campaign is to have any chance of success.”

Before December’s election local MP Steve Barclay voiced his concerns over the proposals and raised the issue of traffic generated by the plant, which could be up to 300 lorries a day and also its close proximity to schools.

In a briefing statement issued last November, Paul Carey, managing director of MVV Environment, gave assurances that the plant, which will create around 700 jobs while under construction and then 40 full-time posts once it is up and running, will not create any smell.

He said any odours will be burned during the combustion process so that any emissions will be odourless and argued it would play a vital role in stopping waste going to landfill.

But both Mr Little and Mr de Whalley said people should not be fooled by the ‘no smell’ promise. Toxic particles, too small to be removed by the plant’s filtration system, will make it into the air.

The carbon particles maybe tiny but Mr Little warned they could be laden with toxins such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and other dangerous elements making them far more toxic than average pollution from cars and lorries.

Mr de Whalley also argued incinerators are a ‘danger’ to waste recycling, with plastics and paper being burned rather than being recycled.

“They really are harmful to the recycle, reduce and reuse efforts as the firm will want materials that burn easily like paper and plastic and that will impact on what is recycled. It is also worth pointing out the process will release CO2 into the atmosphere, which has played a huge part in creating climate change,” he said.

“This is a really serious issue. In West Norfolk, 65,516 people voted against an incinerator in a local poll - that is huge.

“Wisbech and Fenland as a whole needs to act if they are to follow our success and they need to do it now.

“We are here to offer our support and will be happy to help in anyway we can, but it is up to Wisbech and Fenland to fight if they want to stop this incinerator.”

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