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Work starts on building the best case for public inquiry into King’s Lynn incinerator plan

PUBLISHED: 17:59 31 August 2012

The proposed Incinerator site at Saddlebow, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The proposed Incinerator site at Saddlebow, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

Battle lines are being drawn up just 24 hours after it was announced there will be a public inquiry into the proposed Norfolk incinerator.

Both the county council and anti-incinerator campaigners welcomed the decision by Mr Pickles on Thursday to have a public inquiry, which could cost up to £1m.

And now both sides involved in the bitter row over the planned incinerator in Saddlebow, near King’s Lynn, are working on their cases to present to the Planning Inspectorate.

Anti-incinerator campaigner Mike Knights said: “It’s early days but the way I see it, there are a lot of arguments against it but only some of these will be relevant to the planning inquiry.

“We shall, therefore, be focusing on these and drop the other perfectly good arguments for not having the incinerator to make sure we have a proper and thorough submission.

“We have tried to be as professional as we can throughout this whole process and this will continue into the planning inquiry.”

West Norfolk Council chief executive Ray Harding added officers are working hard at putting together the “best case possible” for the Planning Inspectorate.

Meanwhile North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “The thing about the public inquiry is that it will give us all the chance to put our case forward in an environment that is not intimidating.

“It’s important that everyone is given the chance to have their say and restore faith in the process.

“But I do think it’s up to the county council now to stop flogging a dead horse because what this call in has done, in my opinion, is throw the council’s waste strategy into disarray.

“I would urge the county council to show leadership, imagination and pay Cory Wheelabrator to go away and go back to the drawing board.”

He continued: “Between now and the start of the planning inquiry, I’m going to continue to put pressure on the county council to look at the alternative technologies and work in partnership with West Norfolk Council.

“Elizabeth Truss (South West Norfolk MP) and I will also meet with the chancellor of the exchequer and [Environment secretary] Caroline Spelman and ask them to look at the granting of PFI credits in this case.

“There is a very strong argument for the government to cancel these credits because we need to invest in infrastructure projects that command public support – not projects like this which has none.”

But Graham Plant, the council’s cabinet member for planning and transportation, said “We are confident the application meets all planning policy requirements, the recommendation made by our planners was correct and the decision taken by the planning committee was the right one, given national and local planning guidelines

“As people will be aware, we made it clear in a letter to Mr Pickles as far back as March 2011 that the county council would provide every assistance should he decide to call in the application, and of course, we will now be glad to do so.”

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