The King’s Lynn Arts Centre was packed on Monday night for a meeting arranged by King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) and a local farmers campaign group with Paul Connett – an expert on waste incineration.

KLWIN meeting Nov 2010Paul pointed out the many health dangers and environmental disadvantages associated with building huge waste incinerators. He also mentioned that American companies are looking for new markets, because they have not been able to build a waste incinerator in the USA since 1995.

KLWIN and the farmers have been fighting the proposals by Norfolk County Council (NCC) to build a waste incinerator near King’s Lynn to be financed by PFI at an initial cost of £169 million. It is estimated that repayments on the loan will cost in the region of £525 million to £668 million during the proposed 25 year contract of the plant – as NCC have now admitted! – and may end up costing nearly £1 billion pounds.

NCC claims the incinerator will provide around 40 jobs, but experience elsewhere shows that several thousand jobs can be created by developing recycling projects instead.

Residents are also worried about the toxic products of the incinerator. There is evidence that the output from the chimney will include particles so small that they can enter the blood through the lungs and enter other tissues in the body from the blood. These particles can contain highly toxic metal residues, and they will be blown across King’s Lynn, local farmland, fishing areas (including the shellfish beds in the Wash) and important nature reserves.

The bottom ash is also toxic and there are concerns about how it will be disposed of. Elsewhere bottom ash has been deposited in open air sites and carried off the site by the wind. It has even been used in concrete for building projects without warnings about its hazardous nature.

The proposal to build the plant is in opposition to the results of a consultation on the future of waste in Norfolk run by NCC in 2008. This found that the public favoured recycling and composting by a large margin. NCC claims that it has a public mandate for incineration because 5% of respondents to the consultation wanted it. In fact only 10% answered the specific question and only 5% of them supported this option, making 0.5% of those consulted!

All these issues were raised at Paul Connett’s meeting. When Paul asked how many people now wanted an incinerator, not one person did. Jo Rust, Secretary of King’s Lynn Trades Council, gave support for the campaign and urged for KLWIN to join the anticuts demonstration in Norwich on 4 December. Stewart from Australia said, ‘Don’t let them build it! We won a campaign to close down an incinerator in Sydney, but it took 5 long years.’

Links: (Paul Connett)