Norfolk County Council has voted not to sell the King’s Lynn site earmarked for its axed energy-from-waste (EfW) project to any organisation or individual planning to build an incinerator.
Councillors have also decided in favour of refraining from disposing of the site in any way “until such time it is established that it is surplus to any future waste strategy requirements”.
The decision was announced after the council revealed it had completed paying the full £33.7m settlement on its abandoned EfW project.
The council pulled out of the scheme in May 2014 as it considered it would not be able to reach financial close before a contract deadline.
This was due to a delayed decision on planning permission by community secretary Eric Pickles.
A motion at yesterday’s full council meeting, proposed by UKIP councillor Toby Coke, said the community secretary could grant planning permission for an incinerator on the Willows in the future and the local authority may need the site for its own waste treatment plant.
Councillors passed his proposal – by 66 votes to six, with six abstentions – to ask the policy and resources committee not to sell the site. They later voted - 64 votes to zero, with 12 abstentions - to accept that any proposed waste treatment facility in Norfolk must be further up the waste hierarchy than incineration.
Cllr Coke, chairman of the council’s environment, development and transport committee, said a waste conference would be held in Norfolk early next year to focus on processes, technologies and solutions.
He said: “It would be completely irresponsible of us to get rid of the Saddlebow site when we may well need it for ourselves as we look to the future.
“But having spent more than £33m ending the contract with Cory Wheelabrator, it’s crystal clear there is a political will across all parties to bury the incinerator issue once and for all.
“I hope the clear message on incineration, that councillors from all sides of the chamber agreed, will reassure people in West Norfolk and, indeed, the County as a whole, that we can now move forward together from here and put this very divisive issue behind us.”