'West Norfolk has said no' - Protest over incinerator plan

A protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the proposed incinerator in Wisbech. Picture: Danie

A protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the proposed incinerator in Wisbech. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Protestors gathered outside County Hall on Monday (28 March) opposing plans for a huge new incinerator in their town. 

Eight people from the Wisbech Without Incineration (WisWIN) campaign group had travelled 60 miles to make their voices heard on the issue.

MVV Environment Ltd wants to build the £300m energy-generating plant - called the Medworth incinerator - on Algores Way in the Cambridgeshire town, just over the border from Norfolk.

A protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the proposed incinerator in Wisbech. Picture: Danie

A protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the proposed incinerator in Wisbech. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Norfolk County Council is the only local authority out of the four involved not yet to have objected to the proposal.

The council’s Conservative leader, Andrew Proctor, has said the authority should wait until detailed plans have been submitted before taking a view, and a majority of councillors voted in September 2021 against objecting to it. 

The protestors were supported by Norfolk county councillors Alexandra Kemp (independent) and Rob Colwell (Liberal Democrat). 

Ms Kemp said: “There’s an oversupply of incinerators. There is no need for it and west Norfolk has said no.”

Councillor Alex Kemp at a protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the proposed incinerator in

Councillor Alex Kemp at a protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the proposed incinerator in Wisbech. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

“There’s a health risk to children and to farms… All the muck that comes out of the top would come over west Norfolk to King’s Lynn - and they wouldn’t consult with south Lynn or west Lynn, they refused.”

Virginia Bucknor, campaign coordinator for WisWIN said: “There’s absolutely no benefit to anybody bar the company that wants to build this…

Virginia Bucknor, campaign co-ordinator, at a protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the pro

Virginia Bucknor, campaign co-ordinator, at a protest outside County Hall in Norwich against the proposed incinerator in Wisbech. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

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“We know they smell. We’ve been to the company in Scotland, who operate an incinerator [there]… and it absolutely stinks to high heaven, and that is much smaller.

“This is not just going to be one of the biggest in Britain, but one of the biggest in Europe.”

MVV has said it will address councillor Kemp’s concerns in the environmental statement accompanying their application for permission for the incinerator.

It has assured residents the facility will “comply with the very strict European regulations for clean air”.

The company is expected to submit their plans to the Planning Inspectorate in April. 

During the council meeting which followed the protest, Ms Kemp attempted to get the council to suspend standing orders so she could table an urgent motion calling for the council to oppose the project, but the council voted by 45 votes to 23, with two abstentions, not to allow her motion to be heard.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council's Conservative leader Andrew Proctor - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Mr Proctor later repeated his position that NCC should wait until the submission of plans: "I don't see the point in this council being compromised and fettered by saying 'we don't want something' when we don't know the detail."