Waste row breaks out over West Norfolk election leaflet

Willows Business Park Saddlebow, King's Lynn''Land in the foreground is the proposed site for the incinerator ENGANL00120131018142016
Willows Business Park Saddlebow, King's Lynn''Land in the foreground is the proposed site for the incinerator ENGANL00120131018142016
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A West Norfolk councillor has demanded the withdrawal of a rival party’s election campaign leaflet in a row over anti-incineration claims which he says are not true.

The dispute comes amid new concern among waste campaigners that progress towards adopting greener methods of dealing with Norfolk’s rubbish has stalled.

But the borough councillor with responsibility for waste issues has played down the accusations, insisting county council officials should take their time in order to avoid a repeat of the incinerator saga.

The latest row relates to a Conservative campaign leaflet, which claims the party would, if re-elected, carry on working with other authorities to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill “without incineration”.

But UKIP group leader Paul Foster has written to council chief executive Ray Harding, insisting the statement should be altered or withdrawn.

He resigned from the Conservative group in September 2013 in protest at a contract which allowed for waste which cannot be recycled to be burnt at a cement kiln in northern Lincolnshire.

And, calling on Mr Harding to act, he said: “The statement is clearly incorrect.”

Emails seen by the Lynn News show Norfolk County Council waste officials have reported that around 12 per cent of the waste put out for recycling by residents across Norfolk is being disposed of in this way, though they expect the level to drop further over the coming months.

And residents have also been urged to rinse out recyclable items before putting them in their bins.

Brian Long, West Norfolk Council’s environment portfolio holder, yesterday said the decision to send waste to the Lincolnshire site was a county-wide one which the borough council had no control over.

He said: “There is absolutely no incineration going on in West Norfolk. A cement kiln is not an incinerator.”

Mr Long also defended Norfolk County Council’s handling of its future waste management strategy amid renewed fears over the future of the Saddlebow site where the previous Conservative administration had wanted to build the plant.

Last week, Green Party general election candidate Michael de Whalley said the future of the Willows site had to be secured before the next county elections in 2017 in order to prevent a new incinerator scheme coming forward under a new administration.

And county councillor Alexandra Kemp, who represents the Clenchwarton and Lynn South division which includes the disputed site, said residents in the area were “fed up” with the lack of progress.

County officials have previously said that a suitable longer-term solution may not be found until the year 2020 at the earliest.

But Mr Long said that rushing a solution through risked another “wrong decision” being made.

He said: “We need to take the public with us on this journey.”