Hundreds flock to first showing of King’s Lynn incinerator plans
Hundreds of residents snapped up the chance to view plans for a controversial waste incinerator on the edge of King's Lynn yesterday.
Anglo-US waste consortium Cory Wheelabrator invited residents to view its plans for an 'energy from waste' plant at the Duke's Head Hotel, on King's Lynn's Tuesday Market Place from 12pm to 8pm.
The vast majority of the curious residents raised concerns about the scheme to the consortium's project team with many later telling the EDP they were still against the proposal.
Lynn resident Chris Boyle, who was one of the first to attend the exhibition, said: 'I have been to other meetings about the incinerator and I am violently against it.
'My questions were not answered and I overheard plenty of people asking questions about the figures and statistics on the information boards and not getting a proper reply.
'I don't think we should even be looking at incineration but focusing more on recycling which would provide more jobs.'
Sheila Pegg travelled from Burnham Market to get a better understanding of the plans but left the exhibition still against the idea.
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She said: 'It should never happen. I didn't want it in the first place and now I have seen this exhibition I know I definitely don't want it.
'There are far better ways to deal with our waste, like recycling, which we should started a long time ago.'
Despite the large number of objectors, there were a few residents who liked the idea of an incinerator as a way of dealing with the county's waste.
John Humphreys, from Lynn, said: 'When I read the leaflet that came through my door about the proposal, I thought it was a good idea. If it brings more employment to the town then I am all for it.
'I was also really impressed by what I saw at the exhibition and I think they should look to extend it and start bringing in rubbish from other areas because that will create even more jobs.
'People don't naturally like change but the piece of land the incinerator could be built on has not been used for years and years.'
Fellow Lynn resident Kenneth Hazelwood added: 'I don't see what all the fuss has been about. We created all this rubbish and this is a way of dealing with it.
'I am astounded we are going through all of these exhibitions and I don't understand why they just don't get on with it. I am happy for the incinerator to be built.'
Tensions had threatened to boil over during the exhibition when anti-incinerator campaigner Mike Knights arrived.
He said: 'I just went along with my laptop and my presentation notes and asked if I could talk to the people who came along.
'You sometimes get objectors at these type of events who keep intervening but my aim was to sit there and let people come to me.
'But I was asked to leave and told I was not welcome and I would have been forced to leave had there not been interest from the media about the situation.
After tensions were diffused, Mr Knights was allowed to sit close to the entrance of the exhibition alongside consortium spokesman Richard Wilkinson.
Mr Knights continued: 'I think it was quite unfair what happened because when we have held our meetings we have welcomed both sides to be put forward their case.
'I suspect I might not get the opportunity to do this at the other public exhibitions which I think is unreasonable.'
Consortium spokesman Richard Wilkinson was pleased with how the first public exhibition went.
He said: 'We have sent out 24,000 leaflets to residents and laid on two coaches and two mini-buses for this exhibition.
'We really want to make this project a success and we wanted to listen to the concerns of residents and reassure them about what we are doing.
'The exhibition was very useful and was the first real opportunity to come face-to-face with people and get a true understanding of the issues.
'It is going to be interesting to see what other issues are raised at our other exhibitions.'
Referring to Mr Knights' presense, he added: 'I sat beside him listening to what he said to people and what they said to him which has helped me get a better understanding of the issues.'
If built, the Willows power and recycling centre on the Saddlebow industrial estate would be capable of treating up to 268,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste every year.
Norfolk County Council selected Anglo-US firm Cory Wheelabrator as its preferred bidder to construct an incinerator at the site and has secured �169m of PFI credits from the government.
Council figures show, however, that the likely projected costs to council tax payers over the life of the 25-year scheme is about �500m, or around an average of �20m a year.