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Sandringham parish council “strongly objects” to King’s Lynn incinerator

PUBLISHED: 10:43 11 March 2012 | UPDATED: 13:41 11 March 2012

The proposed site of the incinerator at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt.

The proposed site of the incinerator at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt.

Archant © 2011

A parish council which includes the Royal Estate says it “strongly objects” to the waste incinerator proposed for King’s Lynn because of “conflicting views” over whether it carries health risks to elderly residents.

It comes as health chiefs at NHS Norfolk and Waveney say they are satisfied with developer Cory Wheelabrator’s assurances that the plant is safe.

In a letter objecting to the incinerator, sent in during the recent public consultation, Sandringham parish clerk Veronica Morriss writes: “Conflicting views have been offered on whether the incineration of waste will pose a threat to health, especially of older people or those with breathing difficulties.

“The parish has a significant proportion of older people and it is downwind of the proposed site.

“We are not qualified to support one expert view or the other but we are clear that we object to the development until such time as there is a consensus in the scientific community that the airborne contaminants are not injurious to health.”

The letter says “the entire West Norfolk principal road network” will be “impacted” by lorry movements.

It warns that this will have implications for the local economy “including tourism which is of considerable consequence for businesses located in this parish”.

Businesses in the parish include Sandringham Visitor Centre, the country park and even Sandringham House itself, where the Queen, Prince Philip and other members of the Royal Family spend Christmas.

The house and its gardens are open to the public, while the Royal Estate also has a sawmill and fruit farm.

All are within the borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, where more than 65,000 people voted against the incinerator in a council poll.

“To force this development on the local population without regard to its express wishes makes a mockery of the government’s localism policy,” the parish council letter states.

Last night it was not clear whether the letter reflected concern on the part of members of the Royal Family.

Officials launched a second wave of consultation over proposals to build the incinerator at Saddlebow, near King’s Lynn, after concerns over emissions from the plant and their impact on health and the environment.

The Environment Agency and Natural England have since said their objections have now been answered by further information supplied by Cory Wheelabrator.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney has also said it has no further objections.

“The overall conclusions remain the same in that the impact from emissions to air is unlikely to be significant,” it said.

“For all substances the predicted levels at the most affected receptors are significantly lower than health criteria values and no adverse health effects would be expected to occur.

“In summary, the applicant has provided further information to address comments and concerns raised by consultees within the planning process, including concerns raised by NHS Norfolk.

“The supplementary information provides reassurance that quantitative risk assessments have been completed (with review and updates where necessary) to address potential public health impacts from the development.”

Wheelabrator spokesman John Boldon said: “We are very pleased that NHS Norfolk and Waveney’s position remains that the impact of our proposal’s emissions to air is unlikely to be significant.

“This is another important step forward for the project that will deliver a sustainable solution to Norfolk’s significant waste problem, create jobs, save the County Council tax payer over £200 million and divert 250,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year.”

West Norfolk councillors meet on Monday to discuss their final objection to the incinerator. It believes the decision should be taken out of the county council’s hands “in the interests of fairness and impartiality”.

But a report before the meeting also reveals the council has reduced its objections from 13 to seven in the light of fresh information provided by Cory Wheelabrator.

Anti-incinerator campaigners hope the planning decision will be called in by communities secretary Eric Pickles, meaning an independent planning inspector will consider the issue.

But the county council - which will otherwise have the final say - says this has already been ruled out by Mr Pickles’s office.

Hospital consultants earlier called for the project to be put on hold until the results of a government study into birth defects are known.

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