Young people thinking of raising families in King’s Lynn have been urged by a county councillor to think again – because of the incinerator set to be built there.

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The comments were made by John Dobson, Conservative councillor for Dersingham, during a debate over whether the county council should be pushing ahead with proposals for the burner at Saddlebow when it will soon be taking on responsibility for public health.

Alexandra Kemp, Labour county councillor for Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South Division, had proposed that the council agree the site is unsuitable for the plant, which she said would emit particulates which could be harmful to health.

She pointed out that, from April, the county council will take over from NHS Norfolk and Waveney in promoting public health and the incinerator runs contrary to that.

In backing her proposal, Mr Dobson said: “I have always been very suspicious about the health aspects of the incinerator. I have to say that, if I was starting life as a young couple and was going to have children, having read what I know about the incinerator in King’s Lynn, I would not live in King’s Lynn.”

He also urged people to watch the film Erin Brockovich, which stars Julia Roberts as a campaigner who uncovers evidence that a power firm has contaminated water.

Liberal Democrats and Greens backed the motion, but it was defeated, with Bill Borrett, acting council leader, accusing his opponents of “posturing and electioneering”.

The council has always said that the Health Protection Agency, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency say plants such as that Cory Wheelabrator wants to built in Norfolk are safe.

Mr Borrett said: “I would just like to add a dose of reality to this debate, which has disappeared into the realms of fantasy. This has been scrutinised at every stage, including the health issues which arise from it.”

The council also rejected a second incinerator motion, lodged by Mr Dobson, that its cabinet scrutiny committee should look again to establish if the plant is still likely to be needed for the burning of residual domestic waste on the scale it was originally devised to deal with.

Mr Dobson said the council might not be able to provide enough domestic waste to the plant and about three quarters of waste dealt with would be industrial or commercial.

Describing Mr Dobson as “a wily old fox”, Mr Borrett said it was not true that three quarters of the waste would be commercial and that nothing had changed from the original scheme.

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