December 13 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 28, 2013
Opponents to the proposed burner at Saddlebow have long argued that there are far better alternatives to incineration.
While trade unionists from West Norfolk prepare to board a bus taking them to a protest outside County Hall today, a senior union official urged councillors to press on with the burner.
King’s Lynn Trades Council was expecting to fill the 52-seater coach, to remind councillors of the strength of opposition to the incinerator in and around the town.
But as the bus, funded by local trade union branches, prepared to set off for Norwich, the county secretary of UNISON said it feared cuts to jobs and services if the plant was scrapped.
Dave Dennis, King’s Lynn branch secretary of the GMB union, said: “Sometimes we do clash on beliefs, I just hope the clash isn’t too big.
“I can understand their concern about it but the truth is there’s going to be a huge number of cuts made by the government.
“I think there’s a certain amount of alarmism going on with all the prices being quoted. My sympathy goes to the union UNISON. I was made redundant due to cuts and I lived through it. Let’s keep calm and see what the outcome is.”
Jonathan Dunning, county branch secretary of UNISON, said until now, it had not taken sides on the issue.
But he added: “With the withdrawal of the PFI credits it now becomes an issue for all our members.
“UNISON understand that if we pull out of the contract the £25m would have to be found within the current financial year with no scope for negotiations and with no hope of a bail out from central Government.
“With the £189m worth of cuts looming over us this would cause devastation to jobs and services, having an immediate detrimental effect on some of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk as inevitably it would be Children’s Services and Adult Social Services that would bear the burden of the cuts.”
During the public inquiry West Norfolk Borough Council (WNBC) and campaign group King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) argued that burning waste was right at the bottom of the ‘waste hierarchy’, which says rubbish should be reused or recycled as much as possible and that disposing of it is the least favourable choice.
They said the county should look to recycle more, with WNBC voting to enter into a formal contract Material Works for a new non-burning process which is said to turn rubbish into plastic.
Material Works, which hopes a plant would be operational in 2014 and create up to 300 jobs, said that at £55 a tonne, the cost of processing the waste through its system was cheaper than both incineration or landfill.
A cross-party group of councillors, from UKIP, Labour, Conservative and Green groups, also claim it would be more cost effective to send waste to an existing incinerator in Amsterdam than to build a new one near King’s Lynn.
Doing that in the short-term, they argued, would give the authority time to find better solutions to the incinerator.
The group of councillors, including UKIP leader Toby Coke and Conservative John Dobson, revealed how a company called Rebel Group had offered to deal with the county’s waste by shipping it to Amsterdam to be incinerated – for less than the cost of council contractor Cory Wheelabrator incinerating it in Norfolk.
Other ways of dealing with waste include mechanical biological treatment – a process where waste which can be recycled is sorted and anaerobic microorganisms are used to break down the biodegradable component of the waste to produce biogas.
Such a plant was on the brink of being built at Costessey, before attention switched to the Saddlebow incinerator.