Norfolk waste to be burnt in Kent incinerator

Hopes of developing small scale recycling schemes to tackle Norfolk's waste mountain appear to have been dashed with moves to sign new landfill contracts and export waste to Kent and Cambridgeshire.

Norfolk County Council's ruling cabinet are being asked on Monday to award six new residual waste contracts to cover the period before a controversial incinerator comes into use in 2015.

If agreed, the new contracts would be included in the �18.4m cost of residual waste disposal next year, rising to �23.7m in 2015-16.

Previously the administration had signalled a desire for the development of a number of smaller scale schemes dotted around Norfolk in conjunction with a larger facility using processes such as anaerobic digestion to help treat more than 200,000 tonnes of waste being produced each year.

But the new contracts are to continuing dumping waste at five landfill sites at Blackborough End, Costessey, Rackheath, Shipdham, and Thetford, run by waste firm WRG. This will include waste some waste from Costessey being treated at an incinerator at its Allington facility in Kent.

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Another contract with Donarbon will also see waste treated at a mechanical biological treatment plant at Waterbeach, in Cambridgeshire.

Green councillor Andrew Boswell said he was disappointed the cabinet had abandoned the smaller scale treatement strategy stating it confirmed fears that in future all the emphasis will be on the incinerator.

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'It's really disappointing,' Dr Boswell said. 'Rather than encouraging a local waste culture to develop and encouraging smaller businesses to start processing through anaerobic digestion, they are going to be exporting waste out of the county.'

Council leader Derrick Murphy, said: 'These contracts have the potential to ensure that Norfolk stays within its legal landfill allowances, avoiding penalties that we can ill afford. However, the fact that waste contractors are proposing to send waste as far away as Kent, and the rapidly escalating costs of disposal over the next five years, underline the importance of providing our own facility here in Norfolk.'

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