Hundreds vote against King’s Lynn incinerator plan

Hundreds of residents have given the thumbs down to controversial plans to build a waste incinerator on the edge of King's Lynn.

The West Norfolk residents gave their unanimous verdict on the proposed 'energy from waste' plant at three public meetings in and around Lynn this week.

The events were held on Monday in Clenchwarton and at Lynnsport and North Wootton the following evening.

Businessman Paul Moore funded the largest of the three meetings at the Lynn leisure complex where 243 attended to hear the campaign against the proposed incinerator.

He said: 'I decided to organise this event in response to Norfolk County Council's decision to host an event at the same venue in July where those opposing the scheme were prevented from speaking.

'This public meeting was our chance to put across the other side of the story with environmental consultant Richard Burton and farmer Mike Knights both setting out why they believe the incinerator is bad for West Norfolk.

'We told the residents, parish and borough councillors that we are campaigning against the proposed incinerator on grounds of health, environmental impact, its economic burden and its large carbon footprint.

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'A lot of the people who came along told us that they knew very little about what was being planned and were quite shocked by what we were telling them.'

The father-of-three said members of the audience were concerned that Norfolk County Council hadn't been invited to the event.

But he continued: 'We sent out an open invitation to the county council because we were hoping they would be there to ask us questions and to be asked questions but they didn't come.

'We are being very open about this and we want to have a public debate where people can hear both sides of the argument.

'We will keep inviting the county council along to future events and I think the county council should be engaging with the public more about this if they want public support.'

At all three meetings a vote was taken on whether people wanted the �169m project at the Saddlebow industrial estate to go ahead. More than 310 people were against the scheme and no-one voted for the incinerator plan.

The meetings and resounding anti-incinerator feeling comes as King's Lynn MP Henry Bellingham has hit out at the county council's plan.

He said: 'As things stand at the moment, the county council has definitely not convinced me that the underlying technology is 100pc safe in terms of its impact on both health and the environment.

'I have been to a number of public meetings and it certainly struck me that the case against was fairly overwhelming.

'Although the county council officers stated that the filter system on the incinerator would remove all the larger size particles, they could give no such guarantee for the nano or micro particles.

'The county council go on to say that they are 'virtually certain' that these tiny particles will not damage people's health in the future.

'However, what if they are wrong about this? The implications of this are just too horrendous to imagine.'

Mr Bellingham also told the EDP that he is 'very concerned' about the impact that the proposed incinerator would have on recycling rates.

He believes the alternatives to the incinerator would be the county moving more towards smaller systems such as anaerobic digestion.

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said the meeting at Lynnsport in July was for parish councillors only and for that reason the campaigners weren't invited.

He said officers have tried to attend as many of the 'countless' meetings they are invited to and have spoken on the same platform as the campaigners on many occassions.

He added: 'We are aware of Mr Bellingham's concerns. Norfolk County Council has relied upon the assurance of Government departments and independent agencies including DEFRA, the Health Protection Agency and the Environment Agency that well-run modern energy from waste plants are safe.

'The Saddlebow proposal allows for future improvement in recycling rates, and the county council is encouraging the development of smaller-scale local facilities by offering premium recycling rates for the collection of kitchen waste.

'This has already led to a kitchen waste collection service being established in Norwich.

'Norfolk County Council's waste procurement team have attended many meetings right up until the appointment of Cory Wheelabrator as preferred bidder.

'Cory Wheelabrator is in process of drawing up their own public communication programme ahead of the submission of applications for planning permission and an environmental permit.'