This load of old rubbish or a waste incinerator?
22nd October 2010 - the following article is reproduced by kind permission of Lynn News
UNSUSTAINABLE, unacceptable, unhealthy and costly. That was the view of Norfolk’s largest landfill site at Blackborough End this week, according to bosses behind plans for the new £150 million waste incinerator at Lynn.
Environment and waste chiefs at Norfolk County Council organised a press visit to the site on Tuesday, ahead of a key decision on the controversial proposals.
Next week, officers will recommend which one of two bidders they would prefer to take incinerator plans for the Willows Business Park in Saddlebow Road forward.
This will be considered by the authority’s Environment, Transport and Development scrutiny panel on November 2, before a final decision is made on November 8.
During the visit to Blackborough End, the authority said landfill space was running out and an incinerator was the most viable option to deal with waste disposal.
Ann Steward, the councillor charged with making a case for the incinerator, said: “Hopefully pictures of this site will make people think twice about throwing stuff away and bring it down to earth that landfill is unsustainable and unacceptable. Ultimately our goal is to increase recycling but there’ll always be leftovers and we have to look at alternative options at dealing with that.”
Mark Allen, the council’s assistant director for environment and waste, said incinerators had already been adopted by 25 other local authorities in the UK, and there were more than 400 across Europe.
“There are similar facilities operating in France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Holland, which all still achieve higher recycling rates than the UK.”
Mike Snell, of Waste Recycling Group (WRG), which runs the Blackborough End site, said the UK was “playing catch-up” with Europe and although recycling rates have improved, more needed to be done to reduce the amount going into landfill.
He felt historic perceptions of incinerators which were closed in the 1980s due to poor emissions were behind many objections to the plans, but said modern incinerators weren’t like that and strict regulations are in place to make sure they don’t.
“We were too promiscuous as a society in how we threw away things in the 60s and 70s; we thought landfill space would never run out. Europe has been quicker than us in addressing this but we are getting there,” he said.
Mr Allen also said landfill was in short supply, with three of the five sites in Norfolk set to fill up and close within the next five years.
Putting waste in landfill was also getting more expensive, he said, with government landfill taxes set to rise from £48 a tonne to £72 in 2013.
“Last year the county council paid some £9.2 million in landfill tax – that’s three per cent of council tax,” he said.
“By 2013 the council would be paying £16.5 million in tax, on top of the operator fees.”
It also costs £1 million every time more space is created at an existing landfill site, and the council spends £2 million a year maintaining more than 150 closed landfill sites.
The incinerator, which would be able to accept 170,000 tonnes of waste every year, would also help tackle climate change by eliminating landfill gases, and generate electricity for 17,000 homes.
The preferred bidder is due to apply for planning permission and consult the public next year. If successful, building work could start in 2012 and the facility could be open by 2015.