New paper mill could be double in size

CHRIS BISHOP A paper mill on the banks of the River Ouse in King's Lynn could be twice as big as planned, the firm behind the scheme said last night.

CHRIS BISHOP

A paper mill on the banks of the River Ouse in King's Lynn could be twice as big as planned, the firm behind the scheme said last night.

Palm Paper, which hopes to start building the £300m plant later this year, said it had already attracted orders for its full production capacity of about 500,000 tonnes of recycled newsprint a year.

Chief executive Wolfgang Palm said that meant a second paper mill could be installed on the former sugar beet factory site, off Saddlebow Road.

“We decided about a year ago to build a paper mill in the UK to produce newsprint,” he said. “It was very difficult to find a location where this mill could be situated.

“This is an ideal location for us: it's big enough, it's located right on the Great Ouse and there's enough fresh water for a paper mill.”

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While the prefabricated concrete panels for the building will need to be sourced abroad, the labour to build the plant will be predominantly local.

“We will have up to 1,000 people on the site,” said Dr Palm. “They'll all need food and they'll all need to stay overnight somewhere, so if you run a hotel or grocery store, you will like it.”

He added he expected the rural nature of the surrounding area to help raise the ideal employee.

“You have a lot of farming here and we like that, we like employees who have grown up on farms. We have to run the paper mill seven days a week, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

“We will be looking for employees who have no problems working on Saturdays and Sundays. People who have grown up on farms have no problem with that.”

Dr Palm hopes the mill will initially create 150 jobs and said his company hoped it would become operational by the summer of 2009.

He added that the mill's environment-al impact would be tightly controlled.

“We will have an impact on traffic. We will have around 300 extra traffic movements a day - a 1pc increase on the A47,” he added.

“We also need a lot of fresh water, and the desire is that we will take it out of the Relief Channel. We will not have any effect on the flow of the channel and 96pc of the water used is recycled in the process.”

A massive effluent plant will be built alongside the mill to clean up water used in the paper-making process, which will then be discharged into the tidal Ouse.

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