Incinerator background: Wars of words, document after document and 10 years later we could be right back at square one
15:45 31 March 2014
Archant © 2006
We look back on the sorry saga over Norfolk’s incinerator, which goes back for more than a decade.
Well, Norfolk County Council can’t exactly say they weren’t warned what they were getting themselves into.
Back in 2003, when the idea of an incinerator was being flirted with, rather than a concrete plan being underway, a report in the Norwich Evening News read as follows:
“Plans for a giant waste incinerator in the heart of Norfolk have taken another step forward — despite strong opposition in a public consultation.
“The majority of respondents to a survey on issue were against the building of a waste treatment plant in Norfolk. But plans to build a £100million plant have gone through to the next stage.
“The consultation showed just over half of respondents were against such a plant being built in the county, with three quarters saying they would prefer to see more recycling instead.”
Adrian Ramsay, then of Norwich Green Party, went on to say at the time: “It’s extremely concerning that the county council seems to have ignored public opinion and has now put in place plans to build a waste treatment plant in Norfolk.” It’s a quote that would be heard time and time again over the forthcoming years.
Several years later, as the council pushed on with its intention to build said plant on the outskirts of King’s Lynn, it found itself again accused of ignoring public opinion in the form of a vote in West Norfolk, which saw thousands claim they didn’t want it.
County Hall chiefs claimed the poll was flawed - yet what they couldn’t dispute was the sense of ill-feeling towards the proposals from the very people who would live on its doorsteps.
And that was the case the first time firm plans for the so-called burner were drawn up.
It was 2005 by the time firm plans came off the drawing board and were presented to a less than enthusiastic public. At this time Costessey was the chosen location.
Just like several years later, a rallying cry was sounded and by the end of next year that plan was dead in the water.
The only problem being, of course, the county council still needed to find a way to get rid of its waste - and it was still intent on this as the preferred method of doing so.
It’s members claimed such methods were safe and those health risks associated with incineration were not relevant in this case.
King’s Lynn was soon chosen as the next possible location for such a scheme - and so began years of twists and turns, bitter political wars of words and campaigning to get us where we could be by this time next week - right back at square one in terms of the problem of waste in Norfolk.
See tomorrow’s EDP for a five-page special report on the latest development in this long-running saga.