Councillors to visit proposed King’s Lynn incinerator site
Councillors have today unanimously agreed to see for themselves how a proposed incinerator will affect the surrounding area.
Waste company Cory Wheelbrator wants to build a rubbish burner, known as an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility, costing in excess of �500m at the Saddlebow industrial area, south of King's Lynn.
Norfolk County Council's planning regulatory committee approved a site visit, although it is not expected to take place before March.
Two letters from members of the public urged councillors to delay the trip until all the information they need to make a decision is available.
This includes a second public consultation.
Council officers said they had requested additional information from the applicant, which is expected to arrive in the next week.
The authority awarded the contract to build the EfW to Cory Wheelbrator and hopes to offset the cost by receiving �169m of government cash using PFI credits.
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But environment secretary Caroline Spelman revealed she had put those credits on hold and wanted the council 'additional evidence' of a broad consensus to dealing with waste.
The proposals have been met with thousands of objections.
Planning regulatory committee chairman John Rogers said: 'I feel a site visit will be a good idea and we have yet to decide when the date will be.'
Liberal Democrat James Joyce added: 'I am totally in accordance with what you said. We need a site visit'
Planning committee members were also warned yesterday not to jeopardise the process by making a decision on the incinerator in advance.
Mr Rogers said: 'If they are drawn into conversation by anybody all they need to say is 'I listen to what you say but I will not make up my mind until I've seen all the evidence'.'
The EfW facility will be expected to generate electricity by burning an estimated 268,000 tonnes of waste a year.
Designs for the project include an 85-metre high stack.
A report from the authority said: 'The county council constitution provides for members to undertake visits to sites that are the subject of proposals where it is considered that the visit would provide a substantial benefit, e.g. where the visit will significantly assist the committee's understanding of the issues or in controversial cases.
'At the time of writing, 2,639 representations had been received, of which 2,550 (96.6pc) have objected to the proposal. Given this level of objection, the proposal can be considered to be controversial.'
It added: 'The site visit would be a 'fact finding' visit to enable members to note relevant features pertaining to the site and to gain an appreciation of the scale of the proposal in the relation to its surroundings.'