Shrinking newsprint market for Palm Paper - but possible £50m investment in King’s Lynn mill

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Fallout from the current News International crisis and demise of the News of the World is settling in West Norfolk.

King’s Lynn’s Palm Paper produces 1,110 tonnes of newsprint a day and the loss of the biggest-selling Sunday paper has had an impact the industry.

The national market for newsprint was already shrinking, with a 7.5pc reduction in the first half of this year alone, and the closure of a major paper reduced it by a further 3pc.

Palm paper supplies News International, owners of the Sun, Times, Sunday Times and the former News of the World - but details have not been revealed.

Rapidly rising costs, with more forecast in January, and a smaller market place is seeing a squeeze on paper producers.

Company chief executive Dr Wolfgang Palm said when the Lynn mill first opened the market required 2.2 million tonnes of newsprint a year and that figure has now shrunk to 1.15 million tonnes.

“News International is considering the launch of ‘The Sun on Sunday’ which would potentially mitigate any loss. Meanwhile, other Sunday publications may benefit from the additional sales as a result of the News of the World Closure,” he said.

But Dr Palm and his Lynn management team are confident for the long-term future of the plant and may invest a further £50m in a new on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy plant using natural gas to create electricity.

Another option is to buy power from a public waste incinerator if controverisal proposals by Norfolk County Council and Anglo-American consortium Cory Wheelabrator are approved.

The incinerator would be built close to Palm’s huge mill on the Saddlebow Industrial Estate.

“We understand there are concerns about the Cory Wheelabrator project. We believe that the decision about the project has to be taken by the authorities while giving consideration to the opnion of the people of Lynn and West Norfolk.

“We think it would be wise not to be part of this discussion, so we do not want to get involved,” said Dr Palm.

But he confirmed his company had been in talks with Cory Wheelabrator to discuss the possibility of Palm buying power if the incinerator was built.

The paper mill also has planning permission for an on-site incinerator to burn waste from the factory to create power - a system already used at its German sites.

“We have a lot more control over what we burn - it’s paper waste. It’s very different from a public waste-burning incinerator and we have not had a complaint,” said Dr Palm, who did not rule out the possibility of a similar plant being built in Lynn.

Palm has also been talking to electricity producer Centrica about taking excess steam from a proposed expansion of Lynn’s power station.

But a final decision on the future power supply has yet to be taken and Dr Palm said his company was keen to see the outcome of the Cory application and the Centrica plans before anything would be decided.

Dr Palm did say, however,that if neither of the external applications were approved then Palm would rather build a £50m CHP plant than an incinerator because it was both more ecnomical and better for the environment.

The company is also offering an apprenticeship scheme - offering young people the chance to study in Germany to achieve qualifications in paper manufacturing over a three-year period.

Eight full-time apprentices and four part-time will take part in the scheme along with 12 engineers and shift supervisors already working for Palm.

The company is also funding a person to study for a Master of Engineering at Munich University of Applied Sciences. The course is for post-graduates and applications can still be made to Palm.

12 comments

  • Dr Palm's attempt to distance himself from the process appears rather disingenuous, as the provision of steam to Palm Paper is a core part of the Incinerator proposal. I imagine that Dr Palm is dismayed at the strength of public opinion against this and all Incinerators and against those councillors at NCC with whom he has been involved. The potential for the doubling in size of his factory and it's own CHP plant, together with the power station expansion is beyond all reason. This together with the trickery, misinformation and contempt we have all been subjected to from NCC and Wheellabrator is bringing Palm Paper's honeymoon to an end......A telling sentence from this article:- Dr Palm did say that he would rather build a CHP plant because it was more economical and " BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT"

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    mrsmurphy

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

  • Like most of the Tory cabinet at NCC, I just can't take Cllr Borrett seriously - every time I see a quote or mention of him I think of the EDP pic of him peering out from under a pile of old yoghurt cartons in his hard hat and am convinced that Cllr Murphy shuffled him into the environment post simply because he looks a bit 'wierdy beardy'. Surely he doesn't think the people of Norfolk are THAT silly, does he?!?

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    User Removed

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • Speedy enforcement action on planning breaches will be essential if the efw plant is approved.Also a monetary bond should be received prior to starting from Cory, to ensure any fines for breaching can be paid immediately.

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    bedoomed

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • 2007 NCC had purchased the land at Saddlebow to have an incinerator built. This is the same time Palm Paper had planning permission past. Why did Palm Paper not have their own small incinerator built then? The reason was NCC had done a verbal agreement because many workers we told by their German managers, the energy from the waste incinerator is theirs. Not at lot wrong with that but the PFI credits paid for by the Tax payer would subsidise huge profits for Cory and Palm. This is why NCC had rushed things through as the gold rush is coming to an end. It is unlikely the incinerator will ever get built with air pollution at Kings Lynn is poor. The Environmental agency are not too pleased a company that produces toxins wants to be built on a tidal flood zone, as the toxic ash will be stockpiled in 2 metre deep lagoons.

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    Choice

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • mrs murphy, I totally agree about not being able to distinguish NCC and CW. In the beginning I did not know much about incineration and went to all the events NCC or CW were organising. The thing I found really difficult to understand was who was working for who. They are so entwined with each other, they give the same information in their newsletters, they spout the same misinformation. At the Clenchwarton meeting David Harwood held a resident said they had been contacted by ComRes and when he asked them who was behind the survey he was told NCC. John Bolden CW immediately said they had commissioned the survey but makes you wonder? The other major wonder is over the council referendum. NCC kept claiming they couldn't put their case. Why would they put their case they are not the developer, they are not the profit making company who want to build it OR ARE THEY? The referendum should have been KLWIN and Farmers Campaign against CW. NCC should have nothing to do with promoting or defending this project because they are 'unbiased, independent, and the authority looking out for the best interests of US' Now you are all choaking on your cornflakes think on it. Nothing like a good joke to start the day is there!

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Friday, July 22, 2011

  • Cllr Bill Borrett has apparently said recently that the incinerator will be built even if the PFI credits are not forthcoming. The people of Norfolk will just have to pay more (for something most of us badly don't want.) No doubt, he will say the same even if Palm Paper do not agree to buy the steam and electricity.

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    Nemesis

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • If you have a good product at a competitive price then it will sell. Palm should not worry if their product is good and cost-effective. The steam and power from any incineration equally needs to be sold at market rates not subsidised by the local council and undersold to Palm. Why do we need two incinerators side by side in Lynn - the question has to be asked seriously?? Lets start again and look again at all the plans.

    Report this comment

    IanofNorfolk

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

  • I see that the EDP considers Palm Paper to be an integral part of "Norfolk's Burning Issue". Interesting.

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    alecto

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

  • WHY is Cllr Borrett so determind that come hell or high water the incinerator WILL be built? He may not realise that when the Secretary of State takes over the decision on the planning application it will be a team of planning experts who will take the plans apart and look at the whole picture in a totally unbiased professional way. They will then compile a report for the SOS to look at detailing all issues. The SOS will not want to leave himself open to a Judicial Review if there are any issues in the application that can be challenged. The numerous failings connected to this project are too serious for it ever to be approved. Incineration is an old redundant technology, it does not sit well within DEFRA's waste hierarcy and is contrary to many locally and nationally adopted policies. The news that regardless of a PFI grant or not the project will go ahead just shows how stupidly this cabinet operate. Increase recycling and invest in MBTAD that is the way forward instead of sticking their heels in and behaving like spoiled children who have had their favourite toy taken away.

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • Cllr. Borrett's recent letter to another publication stated the importance of "setting the record straight" - I wish he had - The contents were about as straight as a dogs hind leg, but not as intelligent. Much of it could have been copied from Wheelabrators recent "newsletter". To argue with the contents and omissions would be to give it the credibility it so blatantly lacked....Ciir's Murphy, Borrett and the rest of the NNC's Incinerator lovers appear to have spent so much time in the monetary glow of Wheelabrator, that it is easy to mistake them for an extention of that companies sales force - all working hard for a performance related bonus... Recent events appearing almost daily in the national media have shown the ineptitude, the greed and the self-serving culture that permeates through all levels of government. It has now come to the point where it is difficult to have any trust or faith in those we elect to represent us, both at local or national level, especially those who fly in the face of our democratically expressed wishes and continue to threaten our health, our environment and our economy.

    Report this comment

    mrsmurphy

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • Palm paper burning waste pulp etc is not a problem of the same magnitude as cory wheelabrator burning 270000 tonnes of anything and everything after importing it from Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire the Thames Gateway or even Europe. Dr Palm has always been a welcome neighbour UNTIL it seemed that Cory Wheelabrator where building an incinerator for the good of his company and any community other than residents of West Norfolk. Perhaps Dr Palm now realises this and is going to generate his own steam from the waste of his own plant. Does that mean CW know they are on a hiding to nothing?

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • Cllr. Borrett's recent letter to another publication stated the importance of "setting the record straight" - I wish he had - The contents were about as straight as a dogs hind leg, but not as intelligent. Much of it could have been copied from Wheelabrators recent "newsletter". To argue with the contents and omissions would be to give it the credibility it so blatantly lacked....Ciir's Murphy, Borrett and the rest of the NNC's Incinerator lovers appear to have spent so much time in the monetary glow of Wheelabrator, that it is easy to mistake them for an extention of that companies sales force - all working hard for a performance related bonus... Recent events appearing almost daily in the national media have shown the ineptitude, the greed and the self-serving culture that permeates through all levels of government. It has now come to the point where it is difficult to have any trust or faith in those we elect to represent us, both at local or national level, especially those who fly in the face of our democratically expressed wishes and continue to threaten our health, our environment and our economy.

    Report this comment

    mrsmurphy

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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