£100m bill for Norfolk’s rubbish to be burned in Kent and Bedfordshire
- Credit: Archant
Some 180,000 tonnes of rubbish produced by people in Norfolk each year looks likely to be sent to Kent and Bedfordshire to be burned in incinerators - at a cost of more than £100m.
The six-year deal with Veolia, which Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council’s cabinet is due to agree, would see waste burned at Kemsley in Kent to begin with and then at Stewartby in Bedfordshire.
The Kent incinerator is run by Wheelabrator - the same company which the council had to pay more than £30m to after it scrapped plans for the company to build an incinerator in King’s Lynn.However, that is a temporary measure, as from 2021 Norfolk’s would go to a burner being built in Bedfordshire.
Despite the £102m contract bill, council bosses say the deal will save about £2m a year, with most of the county’s waste currently being sent overseas and about 20,000 tonnes to the Great Blakenham incinerator in Suffolk.
The council says it means no waste from Norfolk will be sent directly to landfill and will save a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon emissions over the six years of the contract.
Councillor Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet Member for environment and waste, said: “This deal is a win-win for taxpayers and the environment – saving £2m and 47,000 tonnes of carbon per year, by avoiding the need to dump waste in landfill sites.”
The council’s cabinet will consider the report a week on Monday, although, because the value of the contract is above £100m, it will also need to go before the full council.
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But Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group, said: “There’s not enough information here. We need to know what happens to the residual waste.
“It’s no longer enough to turn it over to a contractor and wash your hands of responsibility. The complete chain has to be part of any contract so we don’t suddenly find Norfolk waste turning up where it shouldn’t.
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“I also want to see incentives to ensure waste is reduced, not a perverse incentive that contractors make more from increased volumes.”
County Hall’s controversial proposals for an incinerator at Saddlebow in King’s Lynn were scrapped in 2014, after the council voted by 48 votes to 30 to terminate the contract.