Plan revealed to burn Norfolk waste in Kent incinerator
Domestic waste from Norfolk will be burnt at an incinerator in Kent if a new contract is agreed.
County council chiefs claim the proposed six-year deal, which is worth more than £100 million, is a "win-win" on both environmental and cost grounds.
But a leading anti-incineration campaigner says he fears the plan is a short term measure until it is possible for rubbish to be burned even closer to home.
The question of how to best deal with Norfolk's domestic waste has blighted the county council ever since its hugely unpopular bid to build a waste incinerator on the edge of Lynn was scrapped in 2014.
The latest plan, which is due to be considered at a cabinet meeting next Monday, July 6, proposes a six-year arrangement with Veolia from next spring to deal with around 180,000 tonnes of rubbish per year.
A further 20,000 tonnes is processed through a continuing arrangement with Suffolk County Council.
Initially, the agreement would see waste taken to an incinerator at Kemsley, Kent to be burnt there.
But the work would then transfer to a new facility in Bedfordshire, which is due to open in late 2021, once it is operational.
Newly-published documents claim the contract, which would replace existing arrangements, would save the council at least £2 million a year in costs, and potentially more by avoiding the requirement to pay specific waste-related taxes in the Netherlands.
They also claim the deal would reduce carbon emissions by around 47,000 tonnes a year, when compared with putting the same amount of material into landfill, as well as increasing recycling of metals and aggregates.
Andy Grant, the authority's cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “This deal is a win-win for taxpayers and the environment."
But Green Party borough councillor Michael de Whalley, who was a leading figure in the fight against the Saddlebow burner plan, said the plan would "depress" attempts to find cleaner solutions.
And he is worried that Norfolk waste could be sent to an incinerator proposed just a few hundred yards from the West Norfolk boundary, on the edge of Wisbech.
That scheme is currently the subject of a planning application and Mr de Whalley has offered support to campaigners there who are fighting it.
He said: "I fear in future it will be burnt just over the border. We have to remember that 65,516 people said no (in a 2011 local poll) to the incineration of their waste."