Norfolk waste could be sent to Suffolk incinerator

Norfolk and Suffolk county councils are in talks about sending some of Norfolk's waste to the incinerator at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich. Norfolk and Suffolk county councils are in talks about sending some of Norfolk's waste to the incinerator at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich.

Friday, February 14, 2014
6:30 AM

Norfolk waste could be sent to Suffolk to be burned, it has been revealed, with talks under way between the two councils to incinerate rubbish near Ipswich.

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But council leaders have insisted if such a deal is struck, it would be a temporary measure and not an alternative to the controversial incinerator proposed for King’s Lynn.

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It would mean about 50 lorry trips a day up and down the A140, taking the county’s waste to be burned at the incinerator under construction at Great Blakenham, which is due to start operating in the summer.

The latest twist in the toxic saga over how Norfolk will deal with its rubbish came at a council meeting in Suffolk.

Richard Smith, Suffolk’s county councillor with responsibility for the environment and planning, revealed the two councils were in talks about the use of the incinerator being built at Great Blakenham.

George Nobbs, the leader of Norfolk County Council, confirmed his authority is talking to their Suffolk counterparts about sending 30,000 tonnes of waste a year to Great Blakenham for a limited period.

Mr Nobbs said: “It is true we have had some informal talks with Suffolk and their contractors over dealing with 30,000 tonnes of waste.

“We have a contract which comes to an end in July and our officers have been talking to neighbours with a view to taking some of that waste at the end of that contract.

“It would only be temporary. It is in no way an alternative to the long-term solution.”

The county council says a solution is needed because a contract with FCC Environmental, which sees waste put into landfill at Aldeby, near Beccles, is drawing to a close, with the tip on the brink of closing.

A spokesman said the authority was also in discussions with Cambridgeshire and other waste disposal facilities in the region, so was far from a done deal.

With Norfolk producing 210,000 tonnes of rubbish a year, the council is keen to stress not all the county’s waste could be sent to Great Blakenham, which has capacity for 269,000 tonnes a year and a commitment from Suffolk to send 170,000 tonnes a year.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has yet to make a decision on whether to allow planning permission for the £596m Norfolk incinerator.

The government last year cancelled waste credits, which would have been worth £169m during the lifetime of the contract agreed with Anglo-US consortium Cory Wheelabrator.

Last year, the leaders of Norfolk and Suffolk County Council signed a memorandum of understanding that the two authorities would work more closely together.

Mr Nobbs insisted he was not embarrassed that a revelation about waste - which is one of the biggest political hot potatoes in Norfolk - had been made at a Suffolk County Council meeting, rather than at his own council.

He said: “In an ideal world I would have liked this announcement to have come from Norfolk County Council and it seems someone from Suffolk has jumped the gun.

“But perhaps it is sign of the growing closeness of the relationship we have forged with Suffolk County Council that they felt able to talk about it.”

Critics of the incinerator proposed for King’s Lynn have been pushing for the county council to come up with a Plan B, saying it would be cheaper to send it to Suffolk or Amsterdam.

The county council has always said, even without the waste credits, the incinerator is value for money and would save taxpayers millions of pounds a year compared to landfill.

• What do you think? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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