Norfolk Police have expressed concerns over the health of officers, staff and alleged offenders if a controversial incinerator is built on the edge of King’s Lynn.

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The force, along with the Norfolk Police Authority, has asked the county council for assurances that people using the police investigation centre (PIC) in Saddlebow will not be affected by its proposed new neighbour.

The county council last night apologised for not sending a letter to Norfolk Police about the Willows Power and Recycling Centre proposals, but a spokesman added that the force’s views would be “taken into account”.

Rupert Birtles, assistant chief officer at Norfolk Police, has written to Mike Jackson, director of environment, transport and development, on behalf of both organisations over air quality, noise and vibration and bottom ash transported from the proposed incinerator.

In his letter, he states the issues relate to matters raised in an environmental statement which was prepared as the centre was being built and explored the impact upon users of the investigation centre.

“In relation to the incinerator bottom ash (IBA), we note this has been described as a non-hazardous commodity, yet it will contain ferrous and non-ferrous metals,” Mr Birtles wrote.

“This will be transported from the EfW facility to the IBA recycling area via a shuttle vehicle across the Willows Spine Road, adjacent to the PIC, apparently without any of the safeguards, such as fully-enclosed and sealed systems and storage, which will be applied to the air pollution control residues which are described as hazardous.

“To the lay person, it is hard to understand how the IBA can be entirely non-hazardous and it is not indicated how the IBA will be stored. One imagines that there will be significant potential for IBA dust containing metal particles to be blown around in the vicinity of the PIC.”

In relation to air quality, Mr Birtles said: “It is stated that for all substances regulated under the waste incineration directive, predicted contributions from the proposal are “not significant” relative to relevant air quality criteria and that ‘no significant risk has been identified to people’.

“We request further explanation of ‘not significant’ and ‘no significant risk’ in terms that can easily be understood by users.”

Assurances were also sought that noise and vibration from the proposed incinerator would not adversely impact on people going to and from the investigation centre.

Anti-incinerator campaigner Mike Knights said last night Norfolk Police and the Norfolk Policy Authority should have been consulted over the incinerator plan.

“Norfolk County Council appears to have glossed over the fact neighbours are real people,” he said.

“They deserve to have their welfare and health taken into consideration. It doesn’t matter if they are wearing uniform or not – these people should not be exposed to things that can harm them.”

Norfolk County Council has already signed a contract with Cory Wheelabrator to construct the incinerator.

A spokesman said: “The Willows is such a significant development that we used a postal database to cover a much wider area and unfortunately this had not been updated to include the new police investigation centre.

“We did not spot this until they contacted us to point out the omission. We apologise for the error, but fortunately they have been able to respond and make their views known.”

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