Incinerator would burn 260,000 tonnes of waste

More details have emerged about the scale of waste that could be burnt in an incinerator on the outskirts of King's Lynn.

Norfolk County Councillors will decide next week if Cory Wheelabrator will be chosen to bid planning permission to build the so-called energy from waste incinerator at the Willows Business Park to the south of the town.

If approved the consortium, which is a joint venture between a UK and Texan firm, will seek planning permission to build an incinerator which will be able to burn around 260,000 tonnes of rubbish.

The figure is significantly more than the 170,000 tonnes of household waste the county council said would be burned at the site when it announced plans for a 'world class' plant in March.

Opponents also claim the plant will cost considerably more than the �169m government grant which will be paid over its 25-year operational lifespan.

Ann Steward, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for sustainable development, said: 'We still have a long way to go with this process. Cory Wheelabrator will have to apply for planning permission, secure an environmental permit from the Environment Agency by proving the facility can meet strict emissions limits and convince Norfolk's director of public health that the development will not adversely affect people's health before it can be built.

'The proposals we are recommending represent excellent value for money. This is in part because the project has attracted a government grant worth �169m over the life of the project under the government's landfill diversion PFI scheme.

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'This will help subsidise the cost of the facility for Norfolk council taxpayers. Norfolk was one of just 11 authorities whose grant allocation was confirmed in the recent Comprehensive Spending Review and we believe this reflects the government's full support for the very sensible proposals we are taking forward for Norfolk.'

But farmer and environmental campaigner Mike Knights, who has placed protest hoardings along the main routes around the site, said: 'Norfolk County Council claims taxpayers will save money. In reality the �169m PFI money is just the start of a very expensive mortgage that will have to repaid.

'Over the life of the incinerator the true cost will exceed �500m. The plant will burn 90,000 tonnes more rubbish per year than we were told causing even greater pollution.

'Official records show 'modern' incinerators are responsible for significant emission breaches. The plant in Dundee was recently found to be 100 times the permitted level of dioxin, tests confirmed soil contamination.'

A full public consultation into the King's Lynn scheme will be held next year.