Sunday, 17 July 2011

Hunstanton Town Council joins fray over King’s Lynn incinerator

The politically-independent town council has written to parish and town councils across the county, asking them to support the campaign against the incinerator.

Norfolk County Council has written to all 200 local councils across the county, inviting their comments on the proposal.
Consultation is now in progress into the formal planning application to build the plant at Saddlebow.
A spokesman, said: “We have written to all town and parish councils as a matter of courtesy to tell them that the official consultation is underway and that they can take part, should they choose to do so.”
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has expressed her concern at the strength of opposition to the incinerator.
She has reminded Norfolk County Council that it needs to show “a broad consensus” of support, to be awarded PFI (Private Finance Initiative) credits to pay for the £169m scheme.
Today Hunstanton town clerk Lisa Powell said town councillors had voted to write to other councils across Norfolk.
“It was unanimous to send the letter to all the parish and town councils in the east of the county and then work our way west,” she said. “We thought it was important to get them on-side.”
Ms Powell said there was growing feeling against the incinerator in Hunstanton - which is around 20 miles from the proposed site.
“At first, people didn’t realise it would affect Hunstanton, people thought it was a King’s Lynn issue,” she said.
“Now more and more has come to light, people have realised it does affect them and it’s a serious issue.”
Consultation over the planning application continues until August 3.
Campaigners have launched a bid to win a judicial review of the county council’s decision to press ahead in the face of overwhelming opposition locally.
Their statement of claim says: “A fair minded and informed observer would conclude that members of the cabinet unlawfully approached the decision of whether to award the contract to Cory Wheelabrator with closed minds, and acted unlawfully as mere delegates of the Conservative group.”
The county council says it has “complete confidence” in the way the issue was handled.
But leaked minutes of a Conservative group meeting prior to a meeting where the county’s ruling cabinet voted to award the contract to run the “energy from waste” plant have sparked calls for an independent inquiry.
A fresh war of words has broken out over a letter from a UEA academic claiming that the financial case for the incinerator does not stack up.
Dr Chris Edwards wrote to councils claiming that the project would not save Norfolk money in the long-run.
His letter was followed by a response from county councillor Bill Borrett, which claimed the points Dr Edwards made were not new.

Hunstanton Town Council’s letter

Hunstanton Town Council would like you to express strong support for the people of West Norfolk who have voted overwhelmingly against the construction of an incinerator on the outskirts of King’s Lynn, in which the county council wants to burn household and industrial waste.
We strongly support alternatives to landfill sites and welcome the County Council’s education programme, which asks us all to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, but the construction of a plant to burn Rubbish is clearly contrary to this three ‘R’s policy.
Apart from public health issues associated with toxic emissions from the proposed incinerator, transporting waste from all over Norfolk - and quite possibly beyond the county boundary - would be bad for the environment and unnecessarily expensive.
We also have concerns that, since this is a PFI scheme, in the longer term the project might not even be a cost-effective method of dealing with waste.
As indicated above, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk did hold a referendum in which there was a turnout of more than 60% with more than 90% voting NO to the incinerator.
If the words ‘Localism’ and ‘Democracy’ mean anything, the incinerator will not be built. If your District Council had conducted a similar referendum with such a clear result, we believe you would expect the County Council to revise its plans accordingly. As it is, they are widening the consultation in the hope of diluting the opposition, a strategy that could be used to override any local decision with which they disagree. Please write a letter as soon as possible asking the county council not to build an incinerator anywhere in Norfolk. Instead, perhaps we could all join in a constructive dialogue to find better solutions to the waste problem.

Lisa J Powell, Town Clerk

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