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Labour come out against incinerator plan

PUBLISHED: 07:45 27 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 22 October 2010

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Controversial plans for an incinerator on the outskirts of Norwich will be opposed by the new Labour administration, the EDP has learned. City Hall is calling for the County Council to “take a bold decision” and reject the scheme by waste firm WRG for the £90m incinerator on the Longwater Business Park in Costessey.

Controversial plans for an incinerator on the outskirts of Norwich will be opposed by the city council's new Labour administration, the EDP has learned.

City Hall is calling for the county council to "take a bold decision" and reject the scheme by waste firm WRG for the £90m incinerator on the Longwater Business Park in Costessey.

A memo seen by the EDP details the move which the party is set to unveil today.

In opposition, Labour opted to wait for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before deciding whether to back the scheme.

Party chiefs had also hoped that the environmental report - which has been delayed until the autumn - could provide extra ammunition to help oppose the scheme.

But, after securing power from the Liberal Democrats in May and buoyed by the backing of the Greens, Labour is set to oppose the scheme.

"Now we are in charge of the council and have reconsidered our decision as the council needs to be seen to be giving a lead," the memo said.

"It is not clear when the EIA is likely to come forward. The resultant delay means that things have moved on and in order to be a leading voice on waste and recycling policy the Labour administration needs to engage the people of Norwich in debating the right way of dealing with this massive and expensive challenge into the future.

"The passage of time has shown other authorities proposing technologies new to this country that seem to be inherently more promising, less damaging and likely to be more acceptable to the public. It is also important to consider disposal integrated into a wider context of waste minimization and recycling strategy.

"The Labour administration does not believe the Costessey proposal as published is the correct one for the county and we will oppose it.

"To this end we call upon the county council to take the bold decision and not go forward with the Costessey proposal and instead look at one of the new technologies especially if Costessey is still the preferred site.

"We will initiate a debate on an integrated waste strategy for the city of Norwich to seek to identify what is the most effective and cost-effective ways of preventing, recycling and disposing of residual waste."

Council leader Steve Morphew was not available for comment last night.

But Adrian Ramsay, Green group leader, welcomed the shift against the scheme.

"I would be delighted," he said. "But I would push the Labour group to oppose all incineration so that the county council doesn't try and put it in someone else's backyard.

"Norwich is extremely poor at recycling and we need a massive improvement so that we can make a strong case against incineration.

Ian Monson, the county council's cabinet member for environment and waste, said: "We have always approached this with an open mind.

"Energy from waste is what we consider the most efficient and effective way of getting rid of residual waste at this time. We are always looking at different technologies, if there is a better technology clearly we would be interested.

"We have a preferred bidder, who we are about to appoint, and we will continue with that process."


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