West Norfolk campaigner calls for new recycling strategy after county waste conference

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A “coherent recycling strategy” is needed to deal with Norfolk’s waste following the demise of the Lynn incinerator scheme, according to a leading campaigner.

The call came following a waste conference hosted by Norfolk County Council this week to discuss potential future treatment methods.

But the councillor in charge of coming up with a waste plan for the county says many of the alternatives presented are likely to be substantially cheaper than the ill-fated Saddlebow scheme.

The conference, held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on Tuesday, was the second event of its type to be hosted by the county council since the termination of its contract for the incinerator last spring.

Around 150 delegates, including councillors, waste industry representatives and other interested parties, attended the session, while several potential treatment solutions were presented.

And Toby Coke, chairman of the county council’s environment, development and transport committee, said several of the technologies presented offered the county the chance to recover the compensation the authority paid to Cory Wheelabrator after ending the contract.

He said the savings would be drawn from substantially lower gate fees, the price paid for each tonne of waste processed, than proposed for the incinerator.

He added of the conference: “I think it was very successful.”

Michael de Whalley, founder of King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN), who was among the delegates, said many of the technologies presented at the conference were promising, but suggested others may be as bad, or even worse, than the incinerator.

He said he was also concerned but what he sees as a division between the county and district councils over the emphasis between re-use and disposal of waste materials.

He argues that too much organic waste is still not being re-used, despite schemes like West Norfolk’s food waste collection programme.

He added: “We need a coherent recycling strategy.”

Members of the county council’s all-party waste advisory group will meet next week to continue its work to develop proposals for waste management in the county for the period up to 2020, by when it is hoped a longer-term solution will have been found.

Mr Coke said the process was not “instant”, but suggested that a network of area plants may be a solution.

He said: “Having every rubbish truck in Norfolk heading to one place is no good at all.”

He also acknowledged the need for the public and interested parties to have their say on future plans.

He added: “We have got to take everyone with us.”

And Mr de Whalley said he was “encouraged” that the authority was being open about its ideas.