King's Lynn incinerator decision 'was flawed'

Opposition to a £500m waste incinerator has been ignored by "obsessive and paranoid" council officials and politicians, a public inquiry has heard.

Henry Bellingham, MP for North West Norfolk, told the hearing the King's Lynn scheme should be abandoned.

He said: "The decision to go ahead with the incinerator was flawed."

The plans are backed by Norfolk County Council (NCC), but opposed by West Norfolk Borough Council.

The plant at Saddlebow would be designed to create electricity from burning about 250,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Conservative MP Mr Bellingham told the King's Lynn inquiry: "We shouldn't have the incinerator at all but should look at other technology."

He has campaigned against the project since its inception and said other councils were looking at technology that provided "zero emissions and zero waste".

"I told the inspector that the county council had handled this whole issue appallingly badly and their conduct throughout had been unprofessional, unethical, secretive and frankly they should be ashamed of themselves."

'Ill effects'

Mr Bellingham told the inquiry it seemed both officers and members were "obsessive and paranoid" about getting the project through.

"This meant ignoring the opposition of more than 65,000 local people who voted No in a local poll," he said.

Mr Bellingham spoke against the project for more than 45 minutes but the county council's lawyer Neil Cameron declined to cross examine him.

Richard Phillips, the lawyer for Corey Wheelabrator, who are set to build and run the plant, challenged Mr Bellingham's assertion they were not fit for such a role.

He pointed to the firm's plant on the Thames which was similar and asked if he knew of any problems that had caused.

Mr Bellingham replied: "I would suggest that it's going to be many years before we know whether there are any ill effects on people's health."

It is anticipated the inquiry will last until 19 April and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is expected to announce a decision on the project in the summer.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites