Incinerator firm finds new city site

SHAUN LOWTHORPE A controversial incinerator on the outskirts of Norwich could be relocated to a different part of the city, the EDP has learned.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

A controversial incinerator on the outskirts of Norwich could be relocated to a different part of the city, the EDP has learned.

Waste firm WRG, which was in pole position to build the 90m incinerator at Longwater industrial estate in Costessey, has admitted that it has shifted its attentions elsewhere after failing to overcome legal issues preventing it from building on the original site it had proposed.

The legal glitch meant the firm was stripped of its preferred bidder status last year and is now vying with rivals SRM to build a treatment plant to dispose of waste currently dumped in landfill sites.

A special project board is set to announce at the end of January which of the two bids should be given the green light, with county councillors set to make a final decision in March.

The EDP understands WRG is now looking at a site on the east of the city, with the former sewerage works at Whitlingham Lane being touted as a possible alternative.

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One source close to the process said the Longwater site was no longer an option.

“It's definitely not Longwater,” the source said. “I have heard that it's to the east of the city.”

Ian Monson, the county council's cabinet member for waste management and the environment, would not comment on any shift eastward.

“I can't say anything,” he said. “WRG has re-presented its application with a new site and I can't say any more than that. It will be evaluated with the SRM bid.”

Campaigners opposed to the incinerator will hold a public debate on the waste issue on January 29.

Linda Mitchell, of Norfolk Against Incineration and Landfill (NAIL2) said: “I'm disappointed at the level of secrecy. I'm worried the incinerator could now be built anywhere in Norfolk. Wherever it ends up it will contaminate somebody.”

Joel Hull, the council's residual waste treatment project manager, confirmed updated bids were received from both WRG and SRM at the end of November.

He said: “Norfolk County Council is currently clarifying and evaluating the updated bids. It is not appropriate for us to comment on specific details of either bid until this process has been completed.”

A WRG spokesman added: “We are in discussions with Norfolk County Council about the municipal waste contract.

“We had previously proposed developing the necessary facilities at Longwater, but was unable to resolve the site's land ownership issues.

“Until the county council has appointed a preferred bidder for the contract, WRG will be making no further public statements.”