Environment secretary Caroline Spelman has released millions of pounds to fund the building of an incinerator in Norfolk.

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Letter from Caroline Spelman to Derrick Murphy

Dear Derrick,

Thank you for the information you and your colleagues have provided in response to my recent requests for supplementary evidence to support your application for waste infrastructure credits, and for your recent letters on the subject. I have no reached my conclusion on whether your application meets my department’s criteria for such support.

These criteria cover a range of issues including value for money, the project’s contribution to diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landfill and the authority’s approach to wider waste diversion and recycling. In addressing your application I have, as you know, been considering particularly carefully the unusually high level of local public concern about the project and the formal withdrawal of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council from your joint waste management strategy.

Local opposition is not, in itself, unusual in major energy from waste projects and is something which the planning system is well placed to weigh in reaching its judgement on whether the project should proceed. The relevant criterion for my department’s waste infrastructure credits does not therefore require support for the project itself at local level but rather that there is a broad consensus on a recognised long-term waste management strategy and that the project is consistent with that strategy. We consider that ‘broad consensus’ does allow for some dissent and does not in particular require unanimity amongst the interested local authorities.

Having carefully considered your project’s case for waste infrastructure credits in the light of all the information available to me, including the additional material you provided in response to my recent letter and evidence of support for the strategy from most of the participating councils but opposition King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, I have concluded that your project does meet my criteria for support.

My officials are accordingly today issuing to your council a promissory note covering the availability of up to £91 million waste infrastructure credits on standard terms.

You will understand that this decision solely concerns the availability of Defra’s waste infrastructure credits should your project eventually proceed, subject to planning and other consents, to construction and operation. Meanwhile I am sure that you share my continuing concern that the project is generating such strong negative feelings locally. While I recognise that King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council may continue to object to the project through the planning process, I hope that if it were to proceed, all local authorities and the contractor will now put fresh effort into working constructively with local interests to maximise the project’s potential benefits for sustainable waste management, local employment and regeneration, and to minimise reasons for local concern.

Yours ever,

Caroline

Mrs Spelman had withheld government funds from Norfolk County Council because of concerns about the proposals for an incinerator on the outskirts of King’s Lynn.

But she has today awarded the waste infrastructure grant and in a letter to Norfolk County Council leader, Derrick Murphy, confirmed the project meets her criteria for the grant.

She said that a promissory note from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to Norfolk County Council, which will be worth up to £91 million over 25 years to Norfolk’s council taxpayers, will be issued.

However she adds: “I am sure that you share my continuing concern that the project is generating such strong negative feelings locally.

“While I recognise that King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council may continue to object to the project through the planning process, I hope that if it were to proceed, all local authorities and the contractor will put fresh effort into working constructively with local interests to maximise the project’s potential benefits for sustainable waste management, local employment and regeneration, and to minimise reasons for local concern.”

Reacting to the letter, Bill Borrett, cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “We are pleased the Government has decided to support this project, which is of significant strategic importance for the people of Norfolk, and that the Secretary of State is satisfied that it meets her criteria for a grant.

“The grant represents the largest amount of central Government funding for a single project that this council will have ever received.

“It will substantially reduce the cost of a proposed new service for dealing with Norfolk residents’ waste, making it excellent value for money – and very good news for the county’s council taxpayers.

“It also reflects the Government’s opinion that projects such as this will help the country meet its European landfill diversion targets.”

Mrs Spelman had announced in November she was withholding the grant and told County Hall she wanted to see more evidence of “broad support” for its proposed waste strategy.

That led to a number of district councils writing letters to Mrs Spelman supporting the waste strategy, though West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney and some opposition leaders on district councils pleaded with her not to be swayed.

Cllr Borrett continued: “This is another, very positive step forward for this important project, but with the planning and environmental permitting processes under-way, and contract arrangements for the new service still to be finalised, there is still some way to go.

“I understand the Secretary of State’s concern to see us ‘work collaboratively and constructively with local interests to maximise the project’s potential benefits for sustainable waste management, local employment and regeneration, and to minimise reasons for local concern’. We will do our very best to ensure this happens.

“Norfolk’s joint waste strategy is also much broader than an energy from waste plant which will, after all, deal just with that part of our waste that’s left over.

“Our strategy is really a much bigger picture that requires us all to work hard to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we possibly can and we want to continue working with all our local government colleagues in Norfolk on this very important agenda.”

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, and Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, are both opposed the incinerator.

Ms Truss said: “I am extremely disappointed by this decision. I wanted the £169 million [grant] used on a project that has support.

“The scheme in its current format does not command the support of local residents, it is too large and in the wrong location.

“Sixty five thousand people voted against it at last year’s referendum and I have repeatedly advocated the creation of a pan Norfolk waste operation to deal with waste more efficiently. I will continue to press for a rethink in the planning process.”

Mr Bellingham has said a public inquiry was necessary. He continued: “I would hope very much Mr Pickles will call it in, appoint an inspector to hear it in a public inquiry and then everybody will have their say.

“It is currently going through the county council planning process. Their planning committee will deliberate on the application. Now I don’t think anyone in Norfolk would have any faith in that arrangement.”

County councillors have already unanimously agreed they need to visit the site of the proposed plant, which will cost more than £500m, before making a decision.

The planning regulatory committee has yet to fix a date for when to head to Saddlebow but chairman John Rogers has urged members not to get embroiled in conversations about the plant in advance.

A committee report said: “At the time of writing, 2,639 representations had been received, of which 2,550 (96.6pc) have objected to the proposal. Given this level of objection, the proposal can be considered to be controversial.

“The site visit would be a fact-finding visit to enable members to note relevant features pertaining to the site and to gain an appreciation of the scale of the proposal in the relation to its surroundings.”

The county council says the plant is needed to prevent the county’s waste having to go to landfill. It says it will save millions of pounds a year.

But in a poll conducted by West Norfolk Council, 65,000 people said they did not want the plant.

Anti-incinerator campaigners last month attempted to secure a judicial review into the process by which the county council agreed to award a contract to waste company Cory Wheelabrator but a High Court judge dismissed their attempt.

47 comments

  • Well at least now everyone can stop banging on and on about it ! Really not bothered enough to worry about it and certainly dont want to read about it in every local paper every day ! Boring. Get on with it and get it built !

    Report this comment

    norfolkblue

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Still can't believe all the NIMBY fuss over this. Have any of you actually visited a modern well run incinertor or spoken to the people that actually live near them? I'd suggest doing that rather than listening to fear mongering local MPs Cllrs Consultants (i.e. those that either want your votes or money). I recently moved from Norfolk to Yorkshire. From my window i can see three different coal power stations of which one is planning on burning waste in three years time (just to put your KL toxic dumping ground scenario into a bit of perspective). The locals kick up no fuss, there is no 'birth defect' issue and people accept that this type of development brings investment and most importantly jobs. If you genuinely think that this incinerator will cause a Death Star scenario for KL then you must have too much time on your hands, or are clearly ignorant of the much more important issues affecting normal people on a day to day basis.

    Report this comment

    Yorkshire

    Friday, January 20, 2012

  • the conservatives just do not listen on norfolk county council whatever the topic

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • "a pinch of dioxin a day keeps the doctor away"...popeye

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, January 20, 2012

  • smithrob why is Brian Long suddenly a waste of space he is doing more than most in West Norfolk to stop the incinerator - perhaps an NCC council debate is not worth having if you know you are only going to lose it, that would just give them a bigger mandate to bulldoze it through...

    Report this comment

    depressed Norfolk

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Erm, 'Newsflash' - funny how the fluffy advert has vastly inflated all the facts and figures beyond credibility - I wonder why that is? Could it be because it's yet another PR stunt in order to try and suck up to planners?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

  • Yesterdays Daily Mail Mothers living near incinerators have a higher risk of having a baby with spina bifida or a heart defect, a new study has found. The research also found an increased risk of stillbirths among women who lived close to a crematorium compared with those living further away. The authors stressed the study did not provide conclusive evidence that living near an incinerator or crematorium caused birth defects or stillbirths. But they said the issue should be investigated further, especially as incineration was becoming widely used method of waste disposal. The research, in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, analysed all births in Cumbria between 1956 and 1993. During this period there were almost 245,000 births, of which 3,234 were stillborn and 1,569 had congenital abnormalities. A further 2,663 babies died shortly after birth. The study found that for babies whose mothers lived near incinerators there was no increased risk of stillbirth or death shortly after birth. But they found the risk of neural tube defects, particularly spina bifida, was 17% higher, and heart defects 12% higher, among babies born to mothers who lived near an incinerator. When they concentrated on the period before the incinerators starting working, no increased risk of stillbirths or birth defects was found. For mothers who lived near a crematorium, the study found the risk of stillbirth was 4% higher. And the chances of the baby having a life-threatening brain Read more: http:www.dailymail.co.uknewsarticle-182633Birth-defects-risk-near-incinerators.html#ixzz1jjl77ABi

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • I appreciate the feeling against this. However. If you happen to support the King's Lynn project register your support at fuelnorfolksfuture.org.uk

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Bill Borrett I think it is a disgrace that you have ignored 65.516 people you are part of the cabinet at county hall and you could have stopped it. You know that Wheelabrator has been in and out of court for years and you know why. It is a lot more that you said on the Radio Norfolk Nick Conrad Show, issue about emissions. Tell the full story Bill what happened in America I am sure everyone in Norfolk wants the truth. Start with the $7.5 million lawsuit against Wheelabrator and that is just for starters.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Friday, January 20, 2012

  • It is down to Mr Daubney that West Norfolk is in the unenviable mess that it's in. If he lets the people of West Norfolk down over this, he will be exposed and his political career over, let's see if Mr Palm wants anything to do with him then.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • Well there's a surprise! I suppose there's one good thing if the incinerator is built - I won't need to struggle with two bins anymore as I won't be recycling anything. If its so clean to burn waste they can have the lot! Murphy, Borrett, Steward et al are incapable of understanding the term democracy. As for Brian Long - what a waste of space.

    Report this comment

    smithrob

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Perhaps the first job of the incinerator could be to burn off all the excess rubbish this process itself will have generated. There'll be loads of planning papers with the wrong ink on it, making it no use for recycling, for starters. Then I'd imagine there'll be the empty biscuit wrappers from hospitality provided at all the meetings that will have "consulted" everyone on it. Unrelated but can anyone tell me if austerity measures are imperial or metric?

    Report this comment

    I ronnie

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • It was never in any doubt. This was real democracy at work. Money always wins in the end.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Well it looks like the incinerator is going to be built, but what about the colour scheme? The people of norfolk have the right to express a preference surely?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Well there's a surprise! I suppose there's one good thing if the incinerator is built - I won't need to struggle with two bins anymore as I won't be recycling anything. If its so clean to burn waste they can have the lot! Murphy, Borrett, Steward et al are incapable of understanding the term democracy. As for Brian Long - what a waste of space.

    Report this comment

    smithrob

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Cllr Borrett states, “Norfolk’s joint waste strategy is also much broader than an energy from waste plant which will, after all, deal just with that part of our waste that’s left over." With this comment he shows how little he actually knows about the incinerator. There is a minimum tonnage requirement in the contract, which if not met results in massive financial penalties. In reality this project spells the end to any new or improved recycling schemes in the Norfolk Area. Just to be clear the people of Kings Lynn would be happIER with this incinerator if it wasnt built downwind, which is a disgrace. The technology was cleaner and Recycling had been given a real chance to succeed like other parts of the country.

    Report this comment

    KLSAIDNO

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • I wouldn't mind so much if it was just being built to deal with Norfolk's rubbish, but I've been told on good authority that they will literally be bringing trainloads of rubbish from London to burn in the Tory Wheelabrator incinerator.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Good

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • And so the inevitable has happened. It's always nice to see our MPs knowing nothing about which they are talking. Elizabeth Truss knows full-well that the vote in West Norfolk was not a "referendum". People like her muddying the waters is exactly what this country doesn't need at the moment, particularly given that she's clearly only doing it to save her seat. So where do the anti-incinerator protestors go next then?

    Report this comment

    Peter J

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

  • Looks like the Cory Wheelabrator staff are working overtime on here.... Loving their link in support of the incinerator. A massive 56 people signed up. https:www.facebook.compagesSay-NO-to-waste-incinerators-and-toxic-air-in-Kings-Lynn-and-West-Norfolk177156085662811

    Report this comment

    KLSAIDNO

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Norfolk County Council have chosen the most corrupt company Wheelabrator. Bill Borrett explain to the Norfolk people the $7.5 million fine to Wheelabrator in America.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

  • I don't know how Cllr Borrett could have given such a long statement to the EDP. He was out in hunting pink with the West Norfolk this afternoon when the news came through. I suppose the NCC spin department has authority to speak on his behalf.

    Report this comment

    Nemesis

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Erm, 'Newsflash' - funny how the fluffy advert has vastly inflated all the facts and figures beyond credibility - I wonder why that is? Could it be because it's yet another PR stunt in order to try and suck up to planners?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Don’t worry as the chimney stack will be 85 mitres high. Dereham and Fakenham will get the toxic pollution. Looks as though West Norfolk will not have any Tory County Councillors next year. If the burning monster ever gets built the chimney will be a monument to how the Tory party let the people down.

    Report this comment

    Choice

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • build a wind farm insted if there is a alot of wind . oh sorry they spoil the sky line . just build the dam thing and get the power from our waste !!!!!!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    kettle1

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Friday, January 20, 2012

  • Footyboy16, I believe many in KL, would swap your chicken poo and guts for 200,000 tons of mixed rubbish any time.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Henry Bellingham, Elizabeth Truss you will surely not be MP's next time round. Although you tried to stop PFI credits you did not try hard enough and now they have been given. There was no consensus what type of government do we have now. Conservative means taking from the poor and giving to the rich. I will never vote again. Norfolks hard earned tax-payers money going to a American company Wheelabrator says it all. Shame on Derrick Murphy and Bill Borrett.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Great News !! there should be more incinerators built, and I for one wouldn't worry about living near one, now these protesters can go back under their rocks until there is something else unsignificant to protest about.. In Suffolk their is a power station burning chicken manure with a constant plum of smoke, did anyone protest about that project ? No.. and the smell and smoke sometimes drift across the town of Eye.. Get a life you SAD PROTESTERS

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • No other incinerator in the UK has been builtplanned to be built directly downwind of a major population center, so why should we be the guinea pigs. It could so easily have been built on the coast to blow out to the wash and North Sea but that would be too easy wouldn't it.

    Report this comment

    KLSAIDNO

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Peter J. You are correct. Problem will be for the Tory party in West Norfolk have let the public down. They have caused stress anxiety and the electorate will never forget this especially if the 85 chimney stack ever gets built. Many people have moved from major cities to West Norfolk because they want the best for their family. Fresh air and open country side. Next year’s County elections will be interesting when County Councillors send out their campaign leaflets. What do they put as their achievements? Stitched the electorate up good time? Very interesting the world famous incinerator at Vienna will be closed in four years because filters do not work. Residents that received free power from the plant want it closed down.

    Report this comment

    Choice

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

  • Good to see all the Cory Wheelabrator staff putting their positive spin on this article. Adding links to their campaign which had a massive 56 signatures. facebook.compagesSay-NO-to-waste-incinerators-and-toxic-air-in-Kings-Lynn-and-West-Norfolk177156085662811

    Report this comment

    KLSAIDNO

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • I would much rather have a little plume of smoke than all the townies moving into our villages and countryside and trying to take over ! Perhaps they should consider voting with their feet !

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Proud

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

  • Now life will become interesting, unfortunately if the contract is signed today we are all £20 million in debt but then on the bright side thats better than £500 million I suppose.

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • I bet the cancer rate goes up in kings lynn when they build this.

    Report this comment

    Steve33

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • We won't have to feel guilty about producing co2 or how bad our car emissions are either!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Dumpling

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Q. How many Norfolk County Council councillors will it take to fill a landfill site? A. Depends how thinly we can slice them.

    Report this comment

    Carborundum

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Well at least now everyone can stop banging on and on about it ! Really not bothered enough to worry about it and certainly dont want to read about it in every local paper every day ! Boring. Get on with it and get it built !

    Report this comment

    norfolkblue

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Fenscape - I support the incinerator. You need to accept there will be some that do.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Don’t worry as the chimney stack will be 85 mitres high. Dereham and Fakenham will get the toxic pollution. Looks as though West Norfolk will not have any Tory County Councillors next year. If the burning monster ever gets built the chimney will be a monument to how the Tory party let the people down.

    Report this comment

    Choice

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • No other incinerator in the UK has been builtplanned to be built directly downwind of a major population center, so why should we be the guinea pigs. It could so easily have been built on the coast to blow out to the wash and North Sea but that would be too easy wouldn't it.

    Report this comment

    KLSAIDNO

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Waste incinerators generates toxic ash - and they do not get rid of landfills. Denmark sends all it's toxic ash to Norway. Derrick Murphy,Bill Borrett,where is the mountain of toxic ash going to be buried.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Brilliant news !!!!! Lets get it built and start reaping the benefits , also we won't have to put up with all the current whingers anymore !

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Proud

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • To "Andrew Dewing" For your record the incinerator will be 4 miles from my house so dont jump to conclusions that I live miles away. I am just not concerned about it.

    Report this comment

    norfolkblue

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Well "Norfolk blue" if your so delighted to have this incinerator built you won't mind if it's placed just up the road from you then. It's a discrace if this was proposed in the constituency of Mrs Spelman it would be a different matter at all.

    Report this comment

    Andrew Dewing

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • So Caroline Spellman has said Norfolk can have some money to allow Derrick and Bill to buy their new shiny white elephant. The money is still coming from the public purse--it's ours, just from a different pocket. And it is a total and complete waste, at a time when all the news coverage is about cut-backs in jobs and money.It is really quite bizarre. If we do what the Norfolk Waste Strategy says, and what Bill Borrett apparently supports--prioritising reduction, re-use and recycling--we just haven't got enough left to feed the Cory Wheelabrator hungry beast. So we'll end up paying more for possible contractual breaches--or Norfolk will just stop making any efforts to recycle. We lose, both ways. Why are our Norfolk County Council leaders so appallingly lacking in vision, and integrity--and common sense?

    Report this comment

    R!ffy

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • KLSAIDNO, don't worry. Everone I have spoken to have said the same thing - we won't bother recycling because if this plant is so clean then it can burn everything. That will save us struggling with two bins on 'bin day.' I'm not sure how people like Brian Long will be able to continue as local councillors as he has certainly lost all credibilty. And as for the dictator Murphy - well what can one say!

    Report this comment

    smithrob

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • 'United Kingdom Without Incineration' e-petition parliament to introduce a tax on waste incineration.

    Report this comment

    Joyce

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

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