Incinerator plans hit a new hitch over flood fears

Campaigners against the proposed King's Lynn incinerator have questioned whether the plant might end up being built elsewhere in Norfolk if an objection about flooding at the site is not overcome.

Norfolk County Council awarded a contract to build the incinerator, known as the Willows Power and Recycling Facility, to Cory Wheelabrator in March, despite a borough council poll which showed 65,000 people in West Norfolk were against it.

Under the scheme, the county council hopes to receive �169m of government cash using PFI credits to help offset the �500m plus cost of the project and consultation on the planning application for the plant is under way.

As part of that process, the Environment Agency has objected, saying the proposed development is in flood zone three – the highest risk flood zone – and that no evidence had been provided to show that a sequential test had been carried out to steer new development to areas at the lowest risk of flooding.

At a meeting of Norfolk County Council's cabinet this week, questions were asked about what steps the council was taking to deal with the Environment Agency's objection.

Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said Cory Wheelabrator would need to supply extra information.

But John Martin, the member of the public who asked the question, then asked Bill Borrett, cabinet member for environment and waste, whether the sequential test would mean the eight other short-listed sites – elsewhere in King's Lynn, East Bilney, Snetterton, Lenwade and Costessey – would have to be re-appraised. He asked if that meant the waste incinerator could be built elsewhere in Norfolk.

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Mr Borrett said he would provide a written answer, but when the EDP contacted the council after the meeting, it said it was not appropriate to comment on what the implications might be at this stage.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: 'Until we see what the applicants, Cory Wheelabrator, have to say about the additional information requested by the Environment Agency, and the agency's comments on it, it is not appropriate to comment on what the implications – if any – for the project might be.

A spokesman for Cory Wheelabrator said flood risk issues had been considered in the preparation of its planning application and the design of the centre.