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New technology for dealing with West Norfolk’s waste moves a step closer - but county council says it’s legally bound to press on with King’s Lynn incinerator plan

The proposed Incinerator site at Saddlebow, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The proposed Incinerator site at Saddlebow, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

Norfolk County Council last night said it backed new technology which supporters claim offers “a landmark opportunity” to increase recycling and avoid burning our waste.

But its deputy leader said it could not scrap plans for a controversial incinerator, because it had already signed a legally-binding contract.

West Norfolk council yesterday confirmed the signing of a 16-year contract with Chester-based Material Works to process the 35,000 tonnes of waste produced in the borough each year.

It said it would provide taxpayers with “a viable and cost-effective, long-term alternative” means of dealing with its waste.

Robert Billson, managing director of Material Works, said: “This contract provides a landmark opportunity towards the integrated processing of mixed waste containing organics and polymers.

“It is significant not only for King’s Lynn and the surrounding areas but also for the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.”

Mr Billson said the processs would be able to recycle waste for £55 per tonne, saving millions. If Material Works can obtain the necessary permits, the cost would be met by the county council.

Brian Long, deputy leader of West Norfolk council, said: “The initiatives taken by Material Works Ltd and the introduction of their technology to us has enabled the council to secure a viable and cost-effective alternative to landfilling of waste, which is more environmentally and financially beneficial for the authority and for our council tax payers.”

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the county council’s proposal for an incinerator at Saddlebow is a dreadfully flawed scheme. It is yesterday’s technology in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“In stark contrast, the Material Works proposal is pioneering and really does represent a remarkable breakthrough, because it combines with the anaerobic digestion process a system for managing the residual waste stream.

“The county council needs to scrap its crazy incinerator proposal and go for three or four of these plants, which will carry public support with them, save a lot of money, create jobs and represent a far better way forward for Norfolk’s waste.”

Bill Borrett, the county council’s cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “I am happy to support the borough council’s conditional contract with Material Works.

“The county council is keen to increase genuine recycling and, after all, there is one million tonnes of waste generated here in Norfolk every year and the Energy from Waste project proposed for at Kings Lynn will only deal with a small proportion of that.

“As Henry Bellingham well knows, the county council signed a binding legal contract back in February for the provision of the Energy from Waste plant at King’s Lynn. The scheme is currently awaiting scrutiny from the secretary of state and if it is decided that it has been run “by the book” then there is no opportunity for it to be cancelled.”

Material Works said it would be inviting other councils to sign up to recycle their waste. Last night North Norfolk District Council said it was keeping a watching brief on the new process.

Material Works said it was close to confirming a site for its plant, which will bring 200 jobs to Lynn.

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