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Cost to taxpayer of getting rid of 200,000 tonnes of Norfolk rubbish likely to rise

PUBLISHED: 12:56 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:22 11 September 2019

The waste incinerator at Great Blakenham. Photograph Simon Parker

The waste incinerator at Great Blakenham. Photograph Simon Parker

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A new way needs to be found to deal with the 200,000 tonnes of leftover rubbish produced by people in Norfolk every year - and that is likely to mean a bigger bill for taxpayers.

The incinerator proposed for King's Lynn sparked protests. The plan was scrapped in 2014. Pic: Adrian JuddThe incinerator proposed for King's Lynn sparked protests. The plan was scrapped in 2014. Pic: Adrian Judd

Council bosses currently send some waste to be burned at Suffolk County Council's incinerator at Great Blakenham, while some is turned into fuel and exported overseas to be used in incinerators in other countries.

But those contracts are coming to an end, so the council needs to find fresh ways to get rid of the rubbish - which costs the authority £24m a year.

Norfolk does not have a facility to deal with residual waste, after the plug was pulled on the controversial incinerator proposed for King's Lynn.

The council adopted a policy of no incineration in the county following that saga.

Tim East, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Costessey.Tim East, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Costessey.

However, the agreement to burn it in Suffolk, along with three other contracts, end next March.

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The contracts cannot be renewed and talks between the two councils over continuing incineration in Suffolk have, in the words of County Hall officers "not reached a position that provides a good value arrangement for both parties".

It means the council needs to tender for new contracts.

Members of the council's infrastructure and development select committee today backed officers in their strategy to secure new six-year contracts.

Officers issued a notice in May to alert the waste market that they would be looking to award new contracts.

Sixteen companies expressed an interest and allowed officers to explore issues.

But they warned, however gets the contracts, the bill is likely to increase.

Officers said: "For a variety of reasons, including the perceived risks and uncertainties of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, foreign exchange risks, the lack of capacity of treatment facilities in the United Kingdom and the possibility of taxation measures on the treatment of waste, an increase in costs is expected, as well as a requirement for the public sector to accept risks relating to these issues."

Liberal Democrat councillor Tim East and Labour councillor Jess Barnard both said they wanted carbon footprint reduction to figure more prominently in considering who to award contracts to.

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