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Power station on former incinerator site “best of a bad job,” says campaigners

PUBLISHED: 15:11 14 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 15 July 2018

Protestors against the incinerator pictured outside County Hall in Norwich in 2011. Picture: Adrian Judd

Protestors against the incinerator pictured outside County Hall in Norwich in 2011. Picture: Adrian Judd

Archant Norfolk 2011

It was once the focus of great controversy, but now the site where an incinerator was almost built could house a gas-fired power station.

The site of where the incinerator was almost built at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian BurtThe site of where the incinerator was almost built at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt

In 2009, EP UK Power Development Ltd (EPUKPD) was granted planning permission to build power station at the Willows Site in Saddlebow, on the east of the existing Centrica King’s Lynn ‘A’ Power Station.

Proposals have been submitted to the Norfolk County Council for additional land in order to build a combined cycle gas turbine power station and carbon capture plant.

Council leader Andrew Proctor said the new power station to be built on unused land would trigger economic growth and bring permanent jobs to the area.

But these new plans have been met with some scepticism from campaigners who fought tooth and nail to stop a waste incinerator being built on the site.

Plans to build a new power station, 'King's Lynn B', at the Willows Site in Saddlebow. Picture: Ian BurtPlans to build a new power station, 'King's Lynn B', at the Willows Site in Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt

Cory Wheelabrator withdrew its plans to build a burner at the Willows in 2015 after five years of angry protest, which cost Norfolk County Council £33m in compensation.

County councillor for Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South, Alex Kemp, described the inevitable power station as “the best of a bad job.”

She added: “If it wasn’t a power station then it could’ve been something much worse, but it’s much better and less polluting than an incinerator.
“Unfortunately this can’t be stopped but we have got to make sure we fight to safeguard for the long term, we need a weather station on the site and air quality measures. The borough council need to insist on this.

A A "No Incinerator" on the Willows Business Park Sign near Saddlebow in 2013. Picture: Matthew Usher.

“There needs to be a great deal more scrutiny than there is.”

Environmental campaigner Michael de Whalley said there were missed opportunities for the site, citing the technological boom in Cambridge in electronics, biology and chemistry.

“These would’ve brought a lot more wealth in King’s Lynn than old, dirty technology,” he added. 
“The concern for me is there’s a huge amount of industrial processes happening in one area - with Centrica and Palm Paper - in a town suffering from air pollution.

A A "No Incinerator" on the Willows Business Park Sign near Saddlebow in 2013. Picture; Matthew Usher.

“I appreciate gas is the cleanest way of doing it, but in the winter when everybody has their heating on and the power station is still operating, those would be the worst times when it’s already a bad situation in King’s Lynn.”

Incinerator protest in The Walks, King's Lynn in 2011. Picture: Ian BurtIncinerator protest in The Walks, King's Lynn in 2011. Picture: Ian Burt

Alexandra Kemp at a candlelit vigil against the incinerator in 2013. Picture: Ian BurtAlexandra Kemp at a candlelit vigil against the incinerator in 2013. Picture: Ian Burt

Michael de Whalley with anti-incinerator campaigners at the launch of their CD 'Smoke on the Wash'. Picture: Ian BurtMichael de Whalley with anti-incinerator campaigners at the launch of their CD 'Smoke on the Wash'. Picture: Ian Burt

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