With their hard work, dedication, and willingness to share their knowledge and experiences with the wider anti-incineration movement, the local campaigners against the incinerator proposed for King’s Lynn have managed to mount a high-profile and successful campaign. UKWIN is delighted to report that campaigners in Norfolk and beyond are now celebrating the fact that waste giant Cory Wheelebrator has withdrawn their unpopular and unnecessary proposal for a 260,000 tonne per annum incinerator in King’s Lynn.

In a letter to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on the 8th January 2015, Cory Environmental and Wheelabrator Technologies formally withdrew their planning application, thus ending the years-long saga and ensuring that no incinerator will be built at the Willows Business Park, King’s Lynn, Norfolk (see withdrawal notice, DOCX). DCLG confirmed: “This case is therefore no longer before the Secretary of State for a decision.” (see Planning Inspectorate confirmation, PDF).

The withdrawal follows a letter dated 5th January 2015 from Norfolk County Council which pointed out that at their meeting on 15 December 2014, the County Council (with a vote of 66 in favour, zero against and 12 abstentions) approved a policy that stated: “Any proposed waste treatment facility in Norfolk will reduce dependency on landfill and must be further up the waste hierarchy than incineration”.  The letter goes onto state that: “…the County Council has made it clear that it has no intention in proceeding with the construction of the incinerator at the Willows Business Park at
King’s Lynn” (see NCC letter, PDF).

When asked to comment by UKWIN, Mike Knights, Coordinator of the Farmers Campaign against the incinerator,  provided the following response:

“After 5 years of intense campaigning, I am delighted that Cory Wheelabrator’s incinerator plans have finally been defeated! It should never have got this far, inept County Council Officials should never have signed away so much of our money after 65,000 people voted ‘NO’ and before that a county wide survey in 2008 had also shown it was not wanted.

Ultimately it was defeated because people stood together for their community and just kept on going even when it got hard. Even the best marketing cannot not turn an obsolete incinerator into a good idea. It is incredible that a UK waste authority would even considered such an inferior scheme.

UKWIN provided vital help in bringing this campaign to a successful conclusion, thank you. Having good people on our side was vital, Burton Environmental Consulting uncovered a lot of the phoney ‘facts’ used to promote the incinerator.

When Norfolk County Council wanted an incinerator everything was stacked in their favour including a huge ruling majority and elections looking a long way off. Ultimately it cost two consecutive leaders their jobs, led to a change of administration, destroyed trust in the authority, wasted £33million and set back dealing with Norfolk’s waste by five years. Any politician prepared to force through an incinerator should think long and hard, how much do they want it and how much do they want to remain in power?”

Michael de Whalley of King’s Lynn Without INcineration (KLWIN) responded to our request for comment with the following:

“During the last 5 years campaigning, I have seen both the best and worst of local politics and learnt an extraordinary amount along the way.

The PFI contract that required the council to commit to eye watering breakage fees, before securing planning permission, had been ‘engineered’ by central government. This meant that councils all over the country were signing similarly ludicrous contracts for their waste projects! Defra’s advice was simply not to let protesters generate a ‘head of steam’.

Norfolk County Council had always assumed that it would determine its own planning and was taken by complete surprise when the Secretary of State ‘called it in’ to be determined by public inquiry after having received thousands of written objections. The amount of public money wasted on the two failed incinerator bids in Norfolk doesn’t bear thinking about.

If nothing else, the incinerator fiasco has taught Norfolk’s residents to scrutinise local government rigorously. I am hugely proud of the way West Norfolk successfully and peacefully defended an overwhelming public vote where 65,516 residents rejected incineration (92% of those who voted).

The advice given by UKWIN’s Shlomo and Josh has been absolutely invaluable…”

One Response to “Celebrations after King’s Lynn incinerator victory”

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