The proposed incinerator at King’s Lynn has cleared another hurdle, after the Environment Agency today announced it has granted the plant an environmental permit to operate.

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The decision by the agency is another blow to campaigners against the Willows Power and Recycling Centre, which is planned to be built at Saddlebow.

Norfolk County Council’s planning committee agreed to grant permission for the plant in June and, last month, West Norfolk Council saw its attempt to force a legal challenge over the award of government credits for the plant rejected by a High Court judge.

With today’s announcement, it means campaigners will be pinning all their hopes on communities secretary Eric Pickles ‘calling in’ the council’s decision to award planning permission, which would trigger a full public inquiry.

Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and waste, said of the decision to award the plant a permit: “I welcome this important announcement by the Environment Agency. It is a clear and unequivocal statement by an autonomous and independent statutory authority that the Willows can operate without harming the environment or human health.

“I now hope, that with all the statutory authorities’ opinions about the Willows before us, and opponents’ fears about health and environmental matters shown to be unfounded, the conversation about this proposal can begin to turn to the very significant benefits that this plant will bring to Norfolk in the future.

“Not least of these are the £8m a year savings it will bring us - or £200m over the 25 year contract - compared with the cost of continuing to use landfill.

“I have, frankly, been astonished by some of the claims - mischievously presented as facts - made against the Willows by opponents to the scheme.

“The agency has reached its decision after consulting widely with key experts and other statutory authorities including the Health Protection Agency, Primary Care Trust and Natural England.

“It adds to the considerable body of evidence which came forward during the planning process from air pollution experts - including the Borough Council of West Norfolk’s own independent specialists - and NHS Norfolk, that the Willows will pose no significant threat to public health.

“Residents should be reassured by the judgement of these independent health and environmental experts.

“This project has been rigorously scrutinised over many many months and at every step of the way it has successfully overcome every single hurdle.

“Today’s decision is yet another crucial step forward for the proposal and there are still critical tests ahead, including the current review by the Secretary of State for Communities of the planning permission for the proposed plant.”

A statement on the Environment Agency website read: “This decision is the outcome of our careful consideration and thorough determination of the application.

“As a result we are satisfied that the proposed facility will not harm the health of local people or the environment, and have granted the environmental permit.”

While the county council says the plant is vital to deal with Norfolk’s waste, a poll organised by West Norfolk Council saw 65,000 people vote against it.

The borough council is still hoping to secure an oral hearing in court to persuade a judge that they should be allowed a judicial review into environment secretary Caroline Spelman’s decision to award £91m in PFI credits towards the cost of the plant, which would be run by Anglo-US consortium Cory Wheelabrator.

34 comments

  • The enviroment agency are a disgrace,its well documented that incinerators release dioxins and furans which are harmful chemicals which cause cancers and birth defects,to put this plant downwind of kings lynn is criminal.

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    Steve33

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

  • What I do not understand is why NCC identified Saddlebow an ideal site for an incinerator. It is within an area of flood zone 3. Defra say incinerators should not be situated in flood zones 3. If you look at the flood maps the EA has this area all blue showing flood zones. They have mixed in parts benefitting from sea defences but this sea defence was here in 1953 and was not effective then. The oceans can reclaim land back. Of course banks will never go bust and some did. Your house is the best investment you will make some times. The truth is nobody knows what the future holds. The intriguing part is would an insurance company want to take on this liability. CW claim form reads, “You were aware the plant was built on flood zone 3 no pay out. The Imperial College London has found significant risk to health and as the plumes are carried over a densely populated town we will no longer insure your business as we will be liable for claims for compensation.

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    Alan Allan

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

  • I remember asking this question a while ago, but I think this calls for a repeat: when will the people opposing this incinerator accept that their fears are unfounded? How many times do various agencies and government departments have to say "it's safe" before they accept it? Given the inability of the opposition to accept anything from the government, perhaps they should simply move somewhere else? If you're worried about your health, go somewhere without an incinerator (and without cars or power plants for that matter, given the pollutants they emit into the atmosphere).

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    Peter J

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • do you like my technical grasp of things? i still say its a public health hazard.shouldnt be built.

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    bookworm

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

  • Joy. The EA are terrified that the EU are going to implement 24 hour monitoring AMESCA air monitoring system or equivalent. This will bankrupt many county councils including NCC when it comes into force. All our MPs and most parish councils have rejected incineration including West Norfolk BC. The planning consultation comments could not be any clearer that incineration was not wanted in any part of Norfolk for the same reason as your comments. One point worth mentioning is incinerator companies know when the plant will be tested, so they do not put pollutants through the burner that day.

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    Alan Allan

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • All most every resident in Norfolk that uses the main arterial routes approaching Kings Lynn will be reminded of how politicians treated them with contempt. Thousand extra lorry movements on the southern By-pass for starters. Chimney with Tory Wheelabrator logo! This is the start of the permanent decline of the Tory Party stronghold in Norfolk.

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    batemansusan

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

  • Isn't it rather early for Cllr Borrett to be smirking? This is pretty meaningless without the grant of planning permission, and that is now in the lap of Eric Pickles.

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    John Martin

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

  • I hope that the people who have 'glossed over' all the problems and shown a complete lack of care for the people of King's Lynn and Norfolk are able to live with themselves in the future. The people will not forget this before the May elections I am sure.

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    Sandy.L

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

  • We have always known this permit was a foregone conclusion, the EA are funded by Defra who are pushing this through, aren't they Mr Jackson? Peter J, the absence of proof, is not proof of absence, these incinerators get built because those in positions of protecting the public's health sell out, and they can still sleep at night. I suppose the people of Dumfries were told the same thing, it's safe, no worries. And people will start believing and accepting what they're told when the lies stop, the inquiries start, and heads roll.

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    Honest John

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • I remember asking this question a while ago, but I think this calls for a repeat: when will the people opposing this incinerator accept that their fears are unfounded? How many times do various agencies and government departments have to say "it's safe" before they accept it? Given the inability of the opposition to accept anything from the government, perhaps they should simply move somewhere else? If you're worried about your health, go somewhere without an incinerator (and without cars or power plants for that matter, given the pollutants they emit into the atmosphere).

    Report this comment

    Peter J

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • The modern Dumfires incinerator, commissioned in 2009, has an EA permit and is closely monitored, that means twice a year for 8 hours as far as dioxinfurans are concerned. On 22nd June it was found to be in breach of dioxin limits by 25 times that which is acceptable under the terms of the permit. It could have been in breach 1 week it could have been in breach 6 months they dont know. What I do know is that if this situation arrises in Lynn the human food chain will be contaiminated because this is a commercial farming and fishing area!! Never mind hey! As long as Murphy gets his way that is all that matters!! The EA are not fit for purpose they know the risks and yet are happy to permit these plants knowing full well that negligable harm to a normal health society does not mean it is safe for those, such as my grandson, with already seriously compromised respiratory systems. My grandson's family will have to stay away from Lynn (and 15 mile radius of it) an EA officer told me this was a LIFESTYLE choice! I informed him that it was not a LIFESTYLE choice for my grandson (3yrs old) it is a matter of stay and risk his life or move elsewhere so he can god willing continue with his fragile life. my grandson is not alone, many unhealthy individuals will suffer because of this. I am sure Murphy, Borrett and their CW friends are very proud of themselves.

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    Joy, King's Lynn

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • So Dickens, for those of us not in Mike Knight's gang, what was the advice given on how to beat the incinerator?

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    Honest John

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

  • And eric pickles will delay the saga some more, until elections will remind him of the need to please the voters.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

  • I'm not asking them to thank me John Martin... I'm merely making the point that they have the option. If they're so passionate about not living near an incinerator, then they do not have to live near one. In any case, the issue is not really about imaginary extended families in King's Lynn, but rather that major infrastructure projects have to go somewhere and people will always moan about them when they do, regardless of their relative importance to the wider polity. I respect their right to moan, but it has got to the point now where several bodies have confirmed the safety of this project and people are choosing not to listen to them.

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    Peter J

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

  • Kings Lynn had to have a permit issued. If the EA had but any restrictions on the burner other campaigners in other authorities would be demanding they use the same criteria and many burners would find it hard to operate. I just cannot believe there is a multitude of potential hazards on every way you look. My grievance is why have planning allowed so many polluters air side by side, with plumes travelling over a densely populated area and next to the wash. Most people I speak to will defiantly not vote Tory again over this fiasco if the incinerator gets built. The amount of stress & anxiety caused and get insulted at the same time will take generations to heal. The chimney will be a permanent reminder of how the Tories let them down big style.

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    Knee deep In Toxic ash

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • It was very noticeable that when Radio Norfolk interviewed Cllr Bill Borrett and Neil Goudie (from the EA) a few days ago, each sounded very uncomfortable and far from confident. I suspect that Mr Goudie, in particular, was hoping that he would not be asked any questions about the energy from waste plant near Dumfries. Yet despite the fact that he must have known about the problems there, he still tried to give the impression that the EA carries out constant monitoring of these plants. We all know that this is not so.

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    Nemesis

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Honest John. Of course all incinerators are safe when they are monitored 24 hours a day using modern air quality monitoring systems as used in Europe. The burner companies are then selective of what waste they accept. If the EA are confident, why on earth do they not implement them and make it a requirement on all well runs incinerators? NCC state the rate payers will save £8 million by burn and kill, so why not use £2 million monitoring it and let the public have a live link to the system.

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    Choice

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Let us hope this is the end of the silly and expensive public spat between Nick Daubney (the loser) and Derrick Murphy (the winner). Daubney can go back to spending the publics money on something worthwhile for a change instead of massaging his own ego.

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    Dickens

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • I do remember you asking me that John Martin, and I imagine my response would have been very similar to the one I'm about to give, namely, exactly what could I possibly say to convince you otherwise? Given your own inability to accept the views of a variety of government agencies on the incinerator issue, I cannot imagine you accepting me saying "No, I am not Derrick Murphy" as being a truthful response. In fact, I'd be rather disappointed if you did. Perhaps an FOI request to the EDP might answer your question. And people can move away if they choose... the wonderful thing about the market economy is that it gives people that ability to move around as they so please.

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    Peter J

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • I put the wrong date in the breach was 29th May this year, 22 June was when the Scottish EA ordered the plant to stop operating, nearly a month later! Report follows, it gives you no confidence at all in the EA's ability to safeguard the public at all. A Permit does not protect us or the environment it just makes it legal to operate. Dioxin breach forces Dumfries EfW plant closure Scotgen’s energy-from-waste facility at Dargavel, near Dumfries, has been told to stop operating following a breach of its dioxin emission limits. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) issued the order on 22 June pending an investigation into the releases. The 40,000-tonne-per-year gasification plant, which accepts hazardous and municipal wastes, was commissioned in late 2009 but has a troubled history. SEPA has classified the site’s compliance as “very poor” (ENDS Report, September 2011). On 29 May, an emission of 0.25 nanograms per cubic metre of dioxins was recorded, compared to a limit of 0.1ngm3 required by the EU Waste Incineration Directive. Dioxins are toxic and environmentally persistent organochlorine compounds linked to cancer and other health effects. The site’s environmental permit requires the operator to stop processing waste while the event is being investigated and improvements put in place. This is not the first time the plant has been shut down. Boiler problems resulted in short-term emission breaches in 2009 and the plant closed for three months in January to March 2010 for boiler improvements. But difficulties continued and it closed again in April 2011 for 12 months for the boilers to be replaced. Non-hazardous waste was being gasified as part of the plant being recommissioned when the dioxin breaches occurred. Scotgen aims to begin final commissioning of the steam turbine system later this year and to start generating electricity. The company said: “Scotgen regrets that the conditions prevalent were unable to prevent such a failure and further regrets the concern that may be caused in our wider community of neighbours.” It was able to restart gasification five days later following satisfactory retest results. Further tests are ongoing and full operation will resume when these are satisfactory. “No definitive single cause of the failure has been identified,” the company said. However, it suggested the breach might be linked to an intermittent fault in the flue gas abatement system. The company is also planning a second plant at Dovesdale, South Lanarkshire. It has received planning permission but has not yet been given an environmental permit by SEPA.

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    Joy, King's Lynn

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • Cabinet members at County Hall can all hang their heads in shame. Who would want to vote for them next time. Only money matters to them people don't.

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    Jack

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • I've heard that the NHS Director of Public Health for Norfolk has refused to answer a letter from a resident in King's Lynn. I read the letter which was submitted as an objection on the Planning Portal and it asked some very serious and pertinent questions. If she cannot answer these questions to substaniate her input, how can her support which was needed for the permit and planning approval be valid? Surely this needs a public enquiry?

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    Honest John

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

  • Whatever happened to all of those 'councillors' that said they were being elected to fight against the incinerator ? Where are they ? Not a word from any of them. The so called 'independents' who were voted in to fight this were about as much use as chocolate teapots when it came to a fight. I recall one anti wind farm campaign councillor a few years ago that was in the papers, on the radio and on the TV non stop until the thing was defeated and then immediately stood down having won the day. That is the way to do it. The 'independent' councillors Mike Knights got involved with have done absolutely nothing of note and are all still there. Quiet as church mice and just as elusive. Hopeless the lot of them.

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    Dickens

    Monday, August 6, 2012

  • The EA are as devious as NCC. Slip the burner permit through while the Olympics are on. Beats me how Eric Pickles will decide the best time to make a decision knowing the Tories are destined for melt down in west Norfolk if the burner gets built.

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    Knee deep In Toxic ash

    Monday, August 6, 2012

  • Whatever the pros and cons of the incinerator, does Batemansusan think the rubbish fairy transports non recycle-able rubbish to landfill by magic? Since the same tonnage will be being moved, what it will mean that smaller country roads, such as those around Edgefield, Aldeby and Blackborough End will no longer be used for accessing land fill.Putting lorries on to a major trunk road ought to be less of a problem for all concerned, especially if NCC redirected their energy into lobbying for the A47 to be dualled as far as Wisbech instead of worrying about an NDR.

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    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

  • Dickens, your name isn't Kevin by any chance is it?

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    User Removed

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

  • Daisy Roots, I think we get your message, you don't like Daubney, join the queue. Whilst you cite past history, you do not appear to have kept up with the modern day. Do some research into EA's lack of maintenance over the last 5 years and how it will affect the whole area if we get a tidal flooding or a storm surge. There are low spots in the flood defences nearby to Palm Paper that EA know about but do nothing. NCC waste money on consultants, publish documents stating clearly that King's Lynn and Yarmouth's flood defences are inadequate, the air pollution is very high, it has 3 of the top 10 most deprived areas in the county, and do nothing but make it worse by wanting to site an incinerator there. The west of the county is deprived from funding by NCC all money stays in the east. Yarmouth doesn't even understand what recycling is, 26%, why not have a go at their leader? The moving of the Tech is a land deal for housing just like Park, nothing's been done because the prices are low, what do you expect them to do?

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    Honest John

    Monday, August 6, 2012

  • I remember asking this question a while ago, Peter J, but are you in real life Cllr Derrick Murphy? If you are, then you will already have put your house in Watlington on the market once with a view to moving away. How many people genuinely have the ability just to move away, and will there be a market for the houses of those who are able to?

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    John Martin

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Peter J, retired people living on fat pensions and with few obligations can always take advantage of the market economy. But imagine a married couple - both needing to work - with two young children living near Saddlebow. The children's grandparents live close by, collect the children from school and fill in during the school holidays. (That is a pretty common scenario.) Should that couple decide to move because they are worried about their children's future health, in the unlikely event that they found a buyer happy to live close to the incinerator, that is only the start. What about their jobs? What abouit the children's schooling? And where does family help come from? I don't think that they would thank you for telling them how wonderful this thing called the market economy is. You seem very out of touch with the real world.

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    John Martin

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Why does the EDP not put a comment up and then when you try to post it again, disallow it giving a reason of 'repeated?'

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

  • Let us all be honest here. This is going ahead and any meetingsinquiries etc in between are just pure theatre. People like Mike Knights and his gang were told very early on how to beat this but they refused the advice point blank and instead blindly wandered down all the wrong paths and wasted a lot of time and energy. Now perhaps they realise what a dirty business politics really is.

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    Dickens

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

  • i wouldnt want to live near this thing blowing out fumes.

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    bookworm

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

  • I too have, frankly, been astonished by some of the claims - mischievously presented as facts - made about the Willows by the applicants and their friends in county hall....

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

  • At the end of the day the public do not want a burner. They did not ask for one and were not given a choice. This is all down to many county councillors not listening and I will not be listening to them at the next county a general elections.

    Report this comment

    Choice

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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