King’s Lynn incinerator company ‘confident’

The company which wants to build an incinerator in King's Lynn has said it is confident the scheme will go ahead despite flood concerns raised by the Environment Agency.

Norfolk County Council awarded a contract to build the incinerator, known as the Willows Power and Recycling Facility, to Cory Wheelabrator in March, despite a borough council poll which showed 65,000 people in West Norfolk were against it.

Under the scheme, Norfolk County Council hopes to receive �169m of government cash using PFI credits to help offset the �500m plus cost of the project, with consultation on the planning application for the plant is underway.

As part of that process, the Environment Agency objected, saying the proposed development is in flood zone three - the highest risk flood zone - and that no evidence had been provided to show that a 'sequential test' has been carried out to steer new development to areas at the lowest risk of flooding.

Anti-incinerator campaigners hoped that could hinder the scheme's chances of success and questioned whether it would mean that other sites in Norfolk might have to be considered as an alternative site.

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Sites elsewhere in King's Lynn, East Bilney, Snetterton, Lenwade and Costessey had all been investigated before Cory Wheelabrator settled on the Saddlebow site.

And a letter from the Environment Agency has made clear they expect the county council to apply the 'sequential test' across the whole of Norfolk.

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A spokesman for the county council confirmed the authority was doing so.

He said: 'The county council is, as local planning authority for waste, carrying out the sequential assessment, as requested.

'This involves examining the information held on this and other sites, and in particular establishing the availability of suitable sites within areas of lower flood risk.

'This assessment covers the whole of Norfolk, because the whole county can be considered the catchment area for the facility.'

But a spokesman for Cory Wheelabrator said: 'The Environment Agency is not saying that the project is contrary to flood risk management policies and cannot be built here.

'They are requesting further information to be supplied 'without slowing the decision making process too much'.'

They said clarification of information already provided in the flood risk assessment had been requested and added: 'We are in the process of providing this clarification and are confident that all the points can be appropriately addressed to the satisfaction of the Environment Agency.'

Campaigner Michael de Whalley, from Grimston, launched a High Court bid last month to win a judicial review of the council's decision to press ahead with plans to build the incinerator.

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