Incineration in Norfolk must be ruled out, says group

The site at Saddlebow where an incinerator was proposed. Picture: Ian Burt.

The site at Saddlebow where an incinerator was proposed. Picture: Ian Burt. - Credit: IAN BURT

A group set up to figure out how to deal with Norfolk's waste after the plug was pulled on the controversial King's Lynn incinerator has said it wants to rule out another large scale burner as a replacement.

Norfolk County Council agreed to pull out of the contract for the proposed £595m plant at Saddlebow earlier this year.

They did so after officers said the contract was no longer good value for money, following a delay in a decision by the Secretary of State on whether to ratify it's planning permission.

While the council has agreed a short-term solution to send some of its waste to be burned in Suffolk, the authority must now look at how to dispose of the waste generated in Norfolk in the longer term.

And the council's waste advisory group - made up of councillors and invited officers - met for the first time at County Hall yesterday to discuss a way forward.

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Chaired by UK Independence Party leader Toby Coke, one of the first acts of the group, was to make a recommendation that Norfolk will not accept a mass burn incinerator in the county as a way to deal with waste.

Tim East, Liberal Democrat councillor for Costessey, said: 'This is an opportunity for a fundamental review of how we deal with waste.

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'We have got a blank sheet of paper and my view is that we need to rationalise collection and disposal so you have one group or area doing that.'

Alexandra Kemp, independent county councillor for Clenchwarton, said the council currently spends £36m getting private companies to dispose of waste and only generates £1.4m in income.

She said: 'We have to turn this around and make money for every household in Norfolk.'

She said the county should incentivise district councils to improve waste collection rates.

A number of councillors suggested that the county council should take on responsibility for collecting waste, which is currently done by district councils.

But councillors said it was difficult to come up with suggested solutions at this stage without an idea of the total cost of collecting waste.

Officers are trying to collate that information from district councils so it is available at future meetings.

And councillors are keen to set up a conference to invite experts and industry leaders to showcase possible ways Norfolk could deal with its waste.

• How do you think Norfolk should deal with its waste? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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