Second incinerator considered for Norfolk at Snetterton

Another site in Norfolk is being considered as a possible location for a future incinerator.

While proposals for an incinerator in King's Lynn gather pace, a strategy which will come before councillors today reveals a site in Snetterton could become home to another, smaller, plant.

Norfolk Environmental Waste Services (NEWS), part of the Norfolk County Council-owned Norse Group of companies, wants a 3.5 hectare site in Harling Road to be allocated by the county council for a number of potential extra uses, which could pave the way for an incinerator.

The site currently houses the Snetterton Recycling Centre and the Lafarge Ready-Mix plant.

But NEWS wants the county council to allocate it as being suitable for composting, anaerobic digestion, processing of recyclable energy from waste and thermal treatment, with the site potentially dealing with 150,000 tonnes of residual waste each year, along with 40,000 tonnes of compost and 2,500 tonnes of household waste recycling.

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Energy from waste and thermal treatment are terms which can refer to incineration.

At a meeting of the county council's cabinet this morning, councillors will consider the future use of the site, along with dozens of other locations across the county, as part of the Norfolk Minerals and Waste Development Framework.

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Officers are recommending that the council approves the publication of a document which lists dozens of potential waste management and mineral extraction sites, which have been submitted by developers and site owners.

The document has been more than four years in the making, with almost 170 submissions made and assessed for suitability by council officers after consultation.

The number has been whittled them down to just under 60, which officers are recommending should be allocated for uses such as quarries, recycling centres, composting and landfill.

The Snetterton site, plus the Saddlebow site in King's Lynn where Cory Wheelabrator wants to build the Willows incinerator, are among those which officers are say should be allocated for uses including thermal treatment.

County Hall bosses were keen to stress that inclusion in the document does not mean the site will end up being used for that purpose, with the whole framework still needing to go out for further public consultation in April or May.

The documents would also be sent to the Secretary of State, with a public examination of them due to take place later this year.

All the allocated sites would need to secure planning permission before they would be able to operate.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: 'The proposed site allocations, including a general indication of uses or processes that could be acceptable, follow an objective assessment of each site.

'The sites have been through several rounds of consultation and there will be an opportunity for further challenge, and an examination in public, before the lists can be adopted by the county council.

'Even then, planning permission, and possibly an environmental permit, will be needed before any site can be developed.'

While nobody from NEWS was available for comment, in Cory Wheelabrator's own planning application for the Saddlebow site which would deal with almost 270,000 tonnes of waste each year, they make direct reference to the Snetterton site and to another energy from waste plant at Costessey, near Norwich, although the developing waste management framework rules out thermal treatment at Longwater Business Park site.

In Cory Wheelabrator's submission, they state that: 'It is likely that all three of these areas will need to be developed in order to meet the recovery requirement set out within [Norfolk County Council's] waste core strategy for 703,000 tonnes of recovery capacity by 2020.'

Norfolk County Council cabinet member for environment and waste, Bill Borrett, said: 'The county council is only responsible for the domestic and residual waste the county council collects, which is not all of the waste Norfolk produces, so it's not something we would become involved in unless we received a planning application.

'Any application would be judged on its merits and if it's not the right solution for the site it wouldn't get planning permission.'

Mike Knights, who has campaigned against the Saddlebow incinerator, said of the possibility of one in Snetterton: 'There have been a lot of rumours floating around that the council have been planning to have more than one incinerator and that if they can force through the King's Lynn one then there could be others to come. 'I sincerely hope people in Snetterton do not find themselves having the sort of thing inflicted upon them which we are fighting here.'

Breckland District Council has objected to the Snetterton site, on the grounds of its affect on other employment development plans and the impact on residents.

Andrew Boswell, spokesman on environment, transport and development for the Green Party at County Hall, said of the possibility of another incinerator: 'Until we know more about what this might be I hope that this would be a genuinely green energy from waste proposal, rather than another waste incinerator.'

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