Letter; Richard Coke, December 15, 2015

Blackborough End landfill site. Waste is compacted into the ground just outside Middleton ENGPNL00120120702120703
Blackborough End landfill site. Waste is compacted into the ground just outside Middleton ENGPNL00120120702120703
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Mr Raab (Letters, Friday December 4) has overlooked some very important points about the new interim approach to dealing with Norfolk’s left over rubbish.

These are interim solutions that only last four years, starting from April next year. That’s a period chosen purposefully to buy us the valuable time to make sure whatever approach we commit to for dealing with our left over rubbish in the years beyond 2020 is well thought through, affordable and deliverable and provides a sustainable solution in every sense of the word. And which, most importantly is acceptable to all the people of Norfolk.

During those four years, instead of going to landfill, our waste will be used as a fuel, using spare capacity at some of the most efficient plants in Europe to generate electricity and heat. These are valuable resources.

The approach will reduce the carbon footprint of dealing with our rubbish massively. In fact, even when the transport is factored in, shipping waste as a fuel to the continent will deliver a net carbon saving, which, compared to the climate change effect of landfill is like taking around 40,000 vehicles off the road.

During this period the new contracts will also deliver extremely valuable financial savings to Norfolk council taxpayers – worth around £2 million a year compared to what we do now and they will also ensure that no longer does all of the leftover rubbish from King’s Lynn and West Norfolk go to landfill.

In terms of shipping and which routes would be used for exporting fuel, it is our contractors that are responsible for making the arrangements. But we are quite rightly looking to see if this can be done in a way that delivers even more benefits for Norfolk alongside the savings, the environmental benefits and the end of sending waste direct to landfill that these new arrangements bring.

Everyone involved in the debate on waste agrees that we need to do more together – and as individuals – to reduce the amount of rubbish that we all produce. I would welcome more informed discussion on this.

Cllr Richard (Toby) Coke

Chairman Environment, Development and Transport Committee, NCC