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Norfolk incinerator survives JR challenge

A borough council has lost its bid to bring legal proceedings against a controversial EfW incinerator project in Norfolk.

A High Court judge told King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council its bid for a Judicial Review into the Government award of waste infrastructure credits had “no arguable case on irrationality or illegality”.

He said: “The claimant’s case goes essentially to the merits of the decision which was reached after a long and detailed consideration of all relevant factors.”

The council claimed environment secretary Caroline Spelman had not given proper consideration to local opposition when she awarded the project £91m of government infrastructure credits.

The council said there was not the “broad consensus” of support required by law for credits to be issued.

The Cory Wheelabrator scheme could still face further hurdles after communities secretary Eric Pickles revealed last month he was considering calling it in for review under his planning powers.

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for environment at Norfolk County Council, said: “Our case has been the subject of intense scrutiny over many months.

“There remain a number of crucially important hurdles to overcome, but this is another step forward for a project which will save Norfolk council taxpayers £8m a year - compared with the cost of using landfill to dispose of the same amount of waste.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • I remain concerned about MrW losing its sense of balance in reporting opposition to incineration - one party's "scare" is another party's "hope". In this instance there are serious issues relating to the way that incinerators are forced upon communities against their will. The Court's decision does not suddenly mean that a broad consensus in favour of incineration suddenly exists in King's Lynn, when it is clear that there is a broad consensus opposed to incineration... Nor does the article take a critical approach to the statement that the incinerator would "save Norfolk council taxpayers £8m a year - compared with the cost of using landfill to dispose of the same amount of waste" - the statement implies that the economics of the proposal depends on maintaining high volumes of waste arising - at a time when waste has been falling year on year. How was the £8m figure derived, and would it really stand up to fresh scrutiny?

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  • Shlomo's point about the use of 'scare' in the original headline was reasonable and prompted MRW to change it to 'challenge'. However, he is wrong to see this as a loss of sense of balance. MRW is not 'for' incinerators per se. We understand that there is opposition in some community and scientific circles - and report that under our normal editorial judgement. But as a means of dealing with waste it is preferable to landfill. As such, it is a valid tool in the overall waste management toolkit.

  • I sincerely appreciate both what the Editor is saying, and the fact that the Editor is taking the trouble to respond to my comment.

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  • Re: "But as a means of dealing with waste it is preferable to landfill. As such, it is a valid tool in the overall waste management toolkit" - I respectfully disagree. How is it that burning plastic is better than landfilling the same plastic? Incinerating the plastic releases GHG into the atmosphere straight away (in exchange for a small quantity of inefficiently generated gross energy, with a possible net loss of energy), whereas plastics in landfill store their carbon and allow for the recycling in the future (when oil prices mean that recycling more types of plastic becomes ever more economic). As for food waste, I assume we can agree that it should go for AD. Glass doesn't burn. Metal is best recycled without first going through an incinerator. Textiles should be reused or recycled. So, incineration is sounding more like a specialist tool that may come in handy on rare occasions perhaps, but which is hardly essential for our waste management toolkit. The UK could get by just fine without incinerators. Considering the social and democratic costs associated with incineration, let alone the environmental costs, I believe we'd be better off without incinerators. Guess I'm in the right job then...

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