Warnings of 'dangerous particles' over proposals for Wisbech incinerator
PUBLISHED: 16:40 24 January 2020
Plans to build a £300 million energy from waste plant in Wisbech have raised fears of "medically dangerous particles" affecting Fenland.
Developers of the proposed waste facility - which MP Steve Barclay described as "wholly inappropriate for Fenland" after setting up a petition opposing it - have contacted local authorities set to be affected by the scheme.
At a West Norfolk Council meeting held on Thursday, January 23, members were told the developers had been asked to present the plans before the development consent order process began.
But Green Party councillor Michael de Whalley said: "The county council say there is no incinerator on Norfolk soil but it will be only 800ft away further away."
He warned that "medically dangerous particles" would drift into the county, carried by "prevailing south-west winds... straight over the border into Norfolk, King's Lynn and beyond."
While Brian Long, leader of the councillor, said: "I'm sure we will all remember the battle that we went through to stop there being an incinerator in King's Lynn."
And cabinet member for development Richard Blunt said plans were undergoing a process of consultation.
He added it was "difficult to oppose [the plans] when we haven't seen the proposals".
In 2017 secret talks were held about the possibility of building an incinerator in Wisbech.
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A year later it was revealed that Fenland District Council (FDC) had met with Norfolk company Frimstone and Cambridgeshire County Council.
According to a briefing note from Cambridgeshire County Council director Graham Hughes, which was sent by county council leader Steve Count to councillors in January 2018, Frimstone has considered building a £180 million incinerator to turn waste into energy.
They said at the time that it could be operating by 2021 and take 250,000 tonnes of waste, according to Cllr Count's note.
Frimstone has a contract with Norfolk County Council to process waste at its site off the A47, south of the town, which is sent to an incinerator in the Netherlands.
The contract was awarded by Norfolk after plans for an incinerator at King's Lynn were pulled in 2014.
Norfolk County Council then had to find other ways to get rid of waste.
It awarded Frimstone a £20m contract in 2015 to take thousands of tonnes of rubbish a year which is processed in Wisbech and sent to an incinerator in Holland. That contract runs out this year.
According to Cambridgeshire County Council's briefing note, the scheme could provide 50 new jobs.
At the time Norfolk County Council said Frimstone had not approached it about any proposal.
To sign the petition visit www.stopfenlandincinerator.co.uk