The campaign against Norfolk County Council’s plan to build a mass burn incinerator near King’s Lynn has moved a step closer to possible victory with the announcement of a public inquiry starting in February 2013
On Monday 29 October, 100 people came from all over Norfolk to King’s Lynn Without Incineration’s (KLWIN) public meeting about the incinerator. People came from east and south Norfolk in recognition that this is not just a local issue. If this incinerator is built at Saddlebow, it will open the door for four more to be built elsewhere in the county.
Mike Knights, one of the leaders of the campaign, pointed out that the inquiry would not be taking place had it not been for the massive opposition in west Norfolk to this incinerator. In a referendum in early 2011, which was ignored by the County Council, 65,512 people, 92.7% of those voting, were opposed to it. A demonstration of 400 people outside the Town Hall tipped the balance when the Borough Council were deciding whether or not to support the County Council plan. Now the Borough Council has come up with its own alternative plan for recycling waste which is much more efficient, economic and environmentally friendly than the incinerator.
There are many objections to the incinerator, most related to the health of local people and to the environment. There are indications that the pollution from the incinerator is likely to cause direct health problems. At the same time, it would spread over the delicate ecology of the Wash, a major source of shellfish, and the surrounding farmland, affecting what we eat. A site of special scientific interest, Roydon Common, is also threatened. Another concern is that the incinerator will be built on a flood plain.
Cory Wheelabrator, the company proposed to build the incinerator, is an American company with a dubious record. America and Germany no longer build incinerators because of problems with emissions, over-capacity and costly contracts benefiting operators at the expense of ratepayers.
The local GMB union has been supporting KLWIN’s campaign and as a result, the GMB opposes not only the Saddlebow incinerator but all incinerators nationally. King’s Lynn and District Trades Council (affiliated to Coalition of Resistance) is also a firm supporter. King’s Lynn CoR members supported KLWIN from the start. We will be out leafleting, rallying support, selling raffle tickets and becoming ‘third party’ representatives to make sure all aspects are covered at the inquiry. As Mike Knights said, we need a huge presence inside or outside the public inquiry to ensure the Inspector realises that we do not want an incinerator – here or anywhere!
If you live anywhere in East Anglia, if you come to Norfolk for your holidays, if you believe that our environment is more precious than opportunities for big business to make money and that people should come before profit, then please come and support us in February at the public inquiry. It is our last chance to stop the Norfolk County Council imposing this plan against the wishes of local people.
The public inquiry will start on 26th February 2013 at the West Norfolk PDC, Kilhams Way, King’s Lynn, PE30 2HU.
Jackie Mulhallen, an actor and playwright, has co-ordinated King’s Lynn Stop the War since 2003 and initiated and organised 14 Women for Change talks for King’s Lynn & District Trades Council (2012/2013). Plays: Sylvia; Rebels and Friends (Lynx Theatre and Poetry). Books: The Theatre of Shelley (Openbooks, 2010); a Shelley biography (Pluto Press, forthcoming)..