The Saddlebow Incinerator

Meanwhile, back at County Hall, the County Council discussed the matter of waste disposal on 25th. February. It is understood that various options are under consideration; one is that there should be a number of 'small' plants across the county, One of the advantages of this is said to be that waste will not have to be carried from one side of the county to the other, as would have been the case with The Willows incinerator.

Each of the plants would deal with waste in the local area and might use a variety of different technologies; some of these ideas are not thought to be viable, others may well be considerably cheaper to operate.



Following an application by KLWIN, the report of the Planning Inspector who conducted the public enquiry into the planning application for a waste incinerator at Saddlebow has now been published. The enquiry ended in the summer of 2013 and the Inspector completed the report in the autumn.

The report shows that the Inspector recommended that the application should be allowed.

The report was then to be considered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, for a final decision.

However, in the interim, the County Council decided to terminate the contract with Cory Wheelabrator at a cost to the county taxpayers of £33.7m. in penalty charges.

Further, pending the decision of the Secretary of State, Cory Wheelabrator withdrew the application, and subsequently Norfolk County Council has decided that Norfolk's waste will not be disposed of by incineration.

The County Council still retains possesion of the site however, and a decision on how to dispose of Norfolk's waste remains to be made.

The story of the whole sorry saga, step by step, from beginning to end, may be seen on this page - start at the bottom and work upwards to this latest update.


5 YEARS AND £40,000,000


The good news however is that Cory Wheelabrator have finally abandoned the plan to build the incinerator at Saddlebow and have withdrawn the planning application.

The not so good news is that the County Council still retains ownership of the land and may choose to use it for waste disposal in some form or another - though it will not involve incineration.

The decision to abandon the planning application also lets the Secretary of State off the hook; he will no longer have to consider whether to grant the application which he has been sitting on for some considerable time - the public inquiry closed in the middle of July 2013.

There continues to be a problem seeking a solution - what is to be done with Norfolk's waste?

Since December 2012, King's Lynn & West Norfolk Council has held a contract with 'Material Works' for the disposal of waste. Material Works has an obligation to prove, by the Spring of 2015, that its scheme to deal with the waste is viable; the plan is to turn it into some form of plastic material that would have a variety of uses.

Meantime, black bin waste is being carried to Suffolk for disposal - by incineration!




The County Council meeting held on Monday 15th. has decided that INCINERATION IS NOT FOR NORFOLK. The Council voted 64 to Nil, with 12 abstentions, to accept the recommendation of the advisory panel that there should be no incineration in the county. This reversed the decision of the Environment Committee, made earlier, which proposed that it should remain an option.

The Council will now be compelled to find other ways of disposing of Norfolk's waste - incineration is no longer an option.

However, it was also decided that the Willows site, which is owned by the County Council, should not be sold at this time - there had been proposals to sell it to the Borough Council. The decision to retain possession of the land means that it could still be used in some way, if required, to accommodate whatever scheme for waste disposal is decided upon.

Meanwhile, it seems that Cory Wheelabrator still awaits the decision of the Secretary of State regarding the original planning application for the scheme to build the incinerator at Saddlebow.




The County Council has now cleared the compensation owing to Cory Wheelabrator arising from the cancellation of the Saddlebow incinerator scheme. The final £5.9m, of the total of £33.7m, was paid last week.

There is to be a meeting of the full County Council on Monday 15th. December to discuss the future waste disposal strategy for the County.

As described below, the panel set up by the Council to look at the options available decided that incineration should NOT be considered. However, the Council Environment Committee has decided that incineration should be considered as an option - in direct opposition to its own advisory panel. The full council, at it's meeting on 15th December 2014, will have to resolve this quandry.

It is not inconceivable that the whole Saddlebow scheme, or something very like it, could yet be brought back to life -

Consider, something will have to be done (the waste has to be dealt with in some way); the County Council still owns the land at Saddlebow; the council could yet decide to go ahead with incineration; and the Secretary of State could give approval for an incinerator. Put the lot together and the artists impression of the planned plant, shown below, could become reality.

UPDATE November 21 2014

One of the specific policy recommendations for managing waste disposal in the future, made by a panel set up by the County Council following the cancellation of the contract for the Saddlebow scheme, was that there would be no incineration of waste in Norfolk (see the 19 November UPDATE below)

However, when the County Council Environment Committee discussed the recomendations of its own advisory panel, at a meeting on Tuesday 18th. November, it decided that incineration should be considered as an option.

It would seem therefore that IT HASN'T GONE AWAY !

UPDATE March 26th. 2015.


The Borough Council has now cancelled the contract with Material Works for the disposal of 'black bin' waste. As described below, Material Works contracted with the Borough Council, just over two years ago, to process waste material. The company was obliged to show that progress was being made in the plans to develop a system and a pilot plant was to be built to show that it was viable.

The contract was extended several times to allow the company to develop the process. This it has failed to do and so the Borough Council has cancelled the contract.

UPDATE March 4th. 2015

On March 15th.2015, there is an obligation upon Material Works to show, to the Borough Council, that progress has been made with the contract for the disposal of 'black bin' waste.

Concerns have been expressed by councillors at the rate of progress, which, to date, has been very slow; extensions to the contract have been granted to Material Works to allow the company to show progress.

Material Works' scheme is to turn the waste into some form of plastic material that would have a variety of uses.

The Lynn News reports that the inquiry into matters concerning the County Council's handling of the Saddlebow incinerator contract, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the contract and the payment of £34,000,000 compensation to Cory Wheelabrator more than 2 years ago, may not be completed. The investigator has told the County Council that as he has no powers to make people give evidence it will not be possible to compile a report. Senior Officers of the Council have suggested that it would be a waste of money to continue with the inquiry.

So, we may never know!.....

The Saddlebow Incinerator - the inquiry into what went wrong......

June 2016 UPDATE:

Click here to see The Borough Council's 'Incinerator Update'

Note that the page is no longer being updated by the Borough Council - though previously posted information will remain.

The latest information on the page is dated April 2014.



Following the decision made earlier in the year to cancel the contract for the proposed waste incinerator at Saddlebow, the County Council set up an advisory group which was asked to consider future alternatives.

Amongst a number of polices the group has proposed is one that specifically rejects any incineration of waste in Norfolk - though it does allow for the incineration of Norfolk's waste outside the county boundary! Indeed, the Council has already arranged for the Suffolk Council's incinerator to handle some of Norfolk's waste until early 2016.

The Council Director of environment has stated that it was expected that there was sufficient capacity, regionally, nationally, and internationally, to deal with Norfolk waste until 2020. It was not therefore expected that any other waste management scheme would become operational before that date.

However, planning for the future, beyond 2020, would have to be set in motion within the next year. The Council would have to state precisely what would be required of any contractor expected to provide a service to the County.

It is expected that a full council meeting will debate the matter in December. A planned conference, to be held in the spring of 2015, was to examine the options available to the authority for the disposal of the County's waste in the future.


The County Council has made the first 'penalty' payment to Cory Wheelabrator as a con sequence of cancelling the contract for the incinerator.

The sum of £11.9 million represents costs incurred through changes in interest and foreign exchange rates.

Further payments are expected to be made in September. About £22 million is due to be paid, being costs involved with the public inquiry and expenses incurred by Cory Wheelabrator in presenting and following up the plans for the plant.

The County Council has also agreed a two year contract to send waste to an incinerator in Suffolk. Approximately 20% of the waste material that cannot be recycled will be sent to Suffolk - though this requires the approval of DEFRA before it can go ahead.

Meantime, it is reported that Cory Wheelabrator still hopes to obtain planning permission for the Saddlebow scheme.


From The Lynn News - 17 June 2014.

The NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE says in a report recently published that there was a 'lack of clarity' in the County Council's dealings with Cory Wheelabrator.

The report states that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was concerned about the matter well before the contract was signed in 2012.

The report continues...

" From 2012 the Department raised specific concerns with Norfolk that the proposed timetable might not be achievable".

DEFRA also questioned whether the council had fully considered the consequences of not winning planning consent.

The current county council leader, George Nobbs, has said that "it is now clear that the original decision to enter into the contract has turned out to be disastrous".

(To date the Secretary of State has still not made known his decision regarding planning consent)

UPDATE MAY 30th 2014

A recent County Council debate passed a motion which has barred County officials from any action concerning the Saddlebow site until after a new waste disposal policy is decided upon. Further, future plans or recommendations for the use of the site will have to be presented to the full Council for a final decision.

(Webmaster comment: This was of course something that didn't happen when the Cabinet signed the original contract with Cory Wheelabrator - the full Council was not given the opportunity to discuss the matter)

UPDATE MAY 21st 2014

The Lynn News reports that the County Council continues to 'assess the future of the Saddlebow site' (which it owns); it is not ruling anything out. In mind is the fact that the county has to find a long term solution to the problem of the disposal of waste in the county; it is too early to say what kind of solution that might be.

It is expected that the cost of cancelling the previous contract with Cory Wheelabrator will rise to £33.3million. The full Council will meet on May 27th. to consider a recommendation from Cabinet concerning the costs of terminating the contract.

It has also been reported today that the Government has made it known that it will not be contributing to the cancellation costs. It considers that the matter is entirely between the County Council and the contractor and it sees no reason why the national purse should be involved.

UPDATE MAY 14th 2014


It is reported that Cory Wheelabrator, the company that was contracted by the County Council to build the planned incinerator, still wants to go ahead with the project, despite the County Council having cancelled it.

Cory Wheelabrator says that the County Council, which owns the site, could still use it, if planning permission is given. The fact that at present there is no contract in place does not alter the fact that there is a planning application before the Secretary of State, awaiting a decision.

Planning permission is of course in the hands of the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities & Local Government; his decision on the matter, following the public enquiry which ended about a year ago, remains to be made.

There have been recent suggestions that the Borough Council, in a move to prevent future construction, might purchase the site from the County Council. This raises the question, of why, if it is thought that the Secretary of State might give approval, would the County Council sell it to the Borough at this time?


Norfolk County Council have today voted to terminate the contract with Cory Wheelabrator to build an energy-from-waste plant and recycling centre at the Saddlebow Industrial Area in King's Lynn.

There were 49 votes in favour of terminating the contract and 29 against with one abstention.

Cabinet met after the council meeting and confirmed that the contract would be terminated

...................GOING - GOING -

This action follows the unwillingness, or inability, of the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to make a decision regarding the planning application. Following the Public Inquiry, which closed about a year ago, the Secretary of State was expected to make a decison on whether planning permission should be granted. Failing this decison being made, and with no date being given by when it would be made, the County Council at an Extraordinary Meeting today (7 April 2014) discussed the matter and voted to terminate the contract. As stated above, the Council Cabinet then endorsed the vote and agreed to terminate the contract.......GONE

It is expected that penalties for cancelling will amount to about £30 million, a sum which the County Council will have to finance.



County Councillors are to discuss the matter of the incinerator at a meeting of the full Council on Monday 7th April 2014. A vote will be taken of the views of the Councillors on whether to proceed or to cancel the project. The result of the vote will be known to the Cabinet when it makes the final decision. It would not be expected that the Cabinet would take an opposite view to that of the Council.

At present, Council Officers estimate that the compensation payable as the cost of cancelling the project will be about £30m. Henry Bellingham, the local MP, suggests that the Government may be willing to assist in payment of the compensation.

UPDATE 21 March 2014


The date for the second vote by County Councillors, to determine whether to proceed with, or to cancel, the incinerator project (see update 21 February below), has been made known - Monday April 7th. The Council's cabinet will make the final decision on the same day.

UPDATE 15 March 2014

The politicians continue to squabble......

The Lynn News reports that....

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, three councillors, including the leader George Nobbs, the Government is accused of being "Wholly unreasonable" in delaying the decision on the incinerator project.

However, opponents have accused the signatories to the letter of making "glaring inaccuracies" and that the delay does in fact give the opportunity to further explore alternatives to the incinerator.

The letter to the Secretary of State argues that "it seems wholly unreasonable to withhold the decision... in the knowledge that the County Council is prejudiced financially by the delay".

(This of course refers to the fact that the cost of cancelling the contract with Cory Wheelabrator will rise by about £5m if it is made after April).

The letter continues by saying "This protracted delay is damaging both to council taxpayers and the public faith in democracy".

However, a group of councillors against the incinerator say that that suggestion is "uncalled for and untrue". Their letter to Pickles said the delay "offers the council a further vote next month (see below) to come out of this now widely and publicly discredited contract altogether, with massive net savings, not costs, all of which will restore faith in the County Council's processes".

The group rejected the idea that delay was costing the council money.. "the budget agreed last month had allowed for compensation to be paid, if necessary, without impacting on services".

A spokesman for Eric Picles' department has said that "A decision will be made by Ministers in due course"

UPDATE 21 February 2014

In a deal, not unconnected with getting the budget for the forthcoming year approved, the County Council has agreed to allow a further vote by Councillors concerning the future of the incinerator (see update below dated 19 February for details).

An extraordinary meeting of the full Council will be held before May, to discuss the contract with Cory Wheelabrator for the construction of the incinerator. Following the discussion there will be a vote by Councillors to decide whether to cancel the contract.

UPDATE 19 February 2014

The Lynn News reports that a cross party group of Councillors is calling for a further meeting of the full Council to re-consider the future of the incinerator. The group is drawing attention to the information from Council Officers that the cost of cancelling the contract will rise further - to around £31,000,000 - if a decision is not made by the beginning of May; it believes that the decision to cancel the project should be made now, before the cost increases further.

UPDATE 13 January 2014


Eric Pickles', the Secretary of State for The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), has postponed making his decision about the future of the proposed incinerator; it had been expected that the decision would be announced on 14 January.

It appears that it has not been decided when the announcement will be made - though a couple of months further delay has been mooted.

The leader of the County Council has said that this delay will cause further cuts to the Council's services for the coming year; not knowing the outcome of the incinerator decision means that the Council cannot be certain what costs it will incur, and therefore cannot be certain about the budget for the year. The Council, which is expected to fix the budget by the end of the week (Friday 17th. January), will therefore have to allow for additional costs in connection with the possible cancelling of the project. This is at a time when it already has to make savings in the budget. The expected cost to the Council of cancelling the project is close to £26,000,000.

UPDATE 6 December 2013

The latest news on the subject is that Eric Pickles' department, The Department of Communities and Local Government ( DCLG), who will be responsible for making the decision on whether to allow the incinerator project to go ahead, has written to the main groups involved inviting them to make further comment on the subject.

Recently, West Norfolk Borough Council, Norfolk County Council and Cory Wheelabrator have all contacted the DCLG on matters concerning the project.

In the letter to the main parties involved, the DCLG says that it is not yet in a position to determine the application and invites comments about correspondence it has received - that is the correspondence from the three parties referred to above. DCLG have also copied KLWIN into the correspondence. All have until 12th December to make further comment.

It is expected that DCLG will make the final decision early in 2014.

UPDATE 22 November 2013

Norfolk County Council has made plans to find the cash that will be required, some £25m, to pay to Cory Wheelabrator if the planning application is refused. As stated earlier, the matter is now in the hands of the Secretary of State who will decide whether or not to grant planning permision for the construction of the plant.


As expected, the Cabinet endorsed the decision of the Council to go ahead with the project.

It would now seem that the matter is entirely in the hands of the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, who, following the Public Enquiry held earlier this year, has to decide whether to give planning permission for the construction of the plant; without planning permission the project cannot proceed. This decision is expected to be made later this year or early in 2014.


At a meeting of the full County Council at County Hall on Monday 28th. October 2013, members voted by a majority of 2 to recommend accepting the revised plan to build the incinerator.

It is to be expected that the Council Cabinet will endorse the decision at a meeting to be held on Tuesday 29th. See more here


Latest information suggests that the likely cost to the County Council of abandoning the project would be £25.9m.

The Council has said that there is no budget allowance for this sum and that cuts are likely to have to be made to cover this cost. This occurs at a time when efforts are having to be made to reduce Council expenditure.

It has been suggested that some County Councillors, who may have been elected on an anti incinerator ticket in May, could change their stance and now move to support the incinerator - as a means of eliminating the penallty due if it were cancelled.

The next move is likely to be made at a meeting of the County Council on Monday 28th October, when a decision will have to be made about whether or not to recommend that the Council should adopt Cory Wheelabrator's revised plan.

The Council Cabinet will meet the following day to discuss the council's decision.



DEFRA has withdrawn the £169m of credits that had been awarded to the planned Willows incinerator project.

However, it is also said that by continuing with the project, the County Council will still be on the winning side financially - somewhere of the order of £1.3m/annum.

The County Council could still cancel the project of its own accord, and seek other means of waste disposal. There is a deadline, October 29th, for the Council to decide upon the revised plan put forward by Cory Wheelabrator.

Should the Council cancel the project there will be a penalty to be paid - said to be about £20m - the same sum due should planning permission not be granted. However, various figures have been quoted for the size of the penalty due if the project were cancelled.

UPDATE 4 October 2013.

Two Borough Councillors have resigned from the ruling Conservative group, in a row about waste disposal. The argument revolves around a re-cycling contract that would allow some waste, which cannot be re-cycled, to be sent to north Lincolnshire - for incineration. The argument is that the council, which has adopted a position against incineration at King's Lynn, should not be considering incineration of its waste somewhere else.

.... Which takes us to the proposal of a group of County Councillors, who are suggesting that, as an alternative to the Willows incinerator, all the County's waste should be sent to Holland ....... for incineration.

The group has been told that if the Government credits of £169m, over a 25 year period, towards the cost of the Willows incinerator were withdrawn, the County Council would save between £18m and £88m.

However, if the grant remains in place then the alternative proposal would be more expensive, £40m - £110m more expensive. But the County Councillor responsible for waste disposal disputes the figures.

At County level, Mr Toby Coke, the local County Councillor has written to the County Council Chairman calling for an extraordinary meeting of the full Council, to debate whether the Council should accept, or reject, a revised plan presented by Cory Wheelabrator. It is understood that if the Council were to reject the revised plan, by a deadline of October 29th, the whole project would effectively be scrapped. The penalty for cancelling the project would then be held at £20m - the same as if planning permission were denied.

It had previously been said, by Council officers, that the cost to the Council of cancelling the project could be as high as £90m.

UPDATE 27 September 2013.

KLWIN (King's Lynn without incinerator) has suggested that if you wish to support their campaign against the Willows incinerator you should now write to the Secretary of State expressing your views.

KLWIN has provided a 'model' letter that you may wish to use - see below. Letters should show your name and address and not be sent anonymously.

KLWIN suggests that the letter should be sent to:-

The Secretary of State for the Environment - Rt Hon. Owen Patterson MP,

and to

The Secretary of State for the Department of Communities & Local Government - Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP,

and copies to local MPs -

Rt Hon Henry Bellingham and Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

All letters to MPs may be adressed to the named MP at

House of Commons, London, SW1 0AA

PLEASE NOTE that East Winch & West Bilney Community Project have posted the following text as a service to villagers. We have no view on the matter concerning the incinerator and our posting this does not imply that we endorse the aims of KLWIN.

The proposed text reads....

Rt. Hon Owen Paterson

House of Commons

London SW1A 0AA

Dear Secretary of State

Cancelling the Norfolk Incinerator

The Government subsidy for the “Willows incinerator” is not justified and should be withdrawn.

This costly waste of public money may be good for Cory Wheelabrator, and those actively lobbying on their behalf, but it is not good for the taxpayers.

At the proposed site, the Willows cannot comply with standard Environment Agency conditions (SR2012 No.13) for processing bottom ash, this means the rules had to be relaxed for it to get its permit. It does not deserve Government backing or planning permission.

Please withdraw Government support for it now and revoke its permit.

UPDATE. JUNE 24 2013

At the Council meeting held on 17 June, it was expected that the matter of the future of the incinerator would be discussed; however, party leaders agreed a motion saying that it would be premature to debate the issue further, until the outcome of the independent reviews was known. The motion was passed by the council. No decision on future action will therefore be made by the council at this time.

Following the public inquiry into the planning application, the decision of the Secretary of State is not expected until later this year, or early in 2014. It follows therefore that the matter is once again 'on hold'.


The County Council is to establish an independent review into the implications of withdrawing from the contract with Cory Wheelbrator.

The review is to consider the way in which the contract was initially agreed by the Council and the means and likely costs of cancelling it.

It had previously been reported that cancelling the contract would cost about £20 million, though more recently the figure of £90m has been quoted.

The new review will be conducted by three barristers, who will consider the legal aspects of the situation; in addition, the District Auditor will nominate three others who will be asked to look at the financial implications. In order to show the independence of the inquiry, those who have campaigned against the project will be involved in appointing the review body.

The Council have made no secret of the fact that this review will be made at a cost to the ratepayers - though as yet have not put a price on it. George Nobbs, the Council leader, says however that, in view of the situation, the additional cost would be justified.


The Public Inquiry, which commenced on 26th. February 2013, has now closed.

The Inspector will, in due course, submit a report and her recommendations to the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision on the outcome of the plan to construct and operate the incinerator. This decision may be expected late this year or early in 2014.

MEANWHILE ... The County Council elections ended in a stalemate of sorts - with the previously ruling Conservative party remaining as the largest party represented, but with no overall control. At the time of writing, nearly two weeks after the election, there is no agreement between the Councillors, no Chairman of the Council appointed , and so the Council is unable to function properly; the day to day running of the council is being conducted by Officers of the Authority.

There is to be an extraordinary meeting of Councillors to try to resolve the situation.

However, there is to be a full Council debate on the matter of the incinerator. This is likely to be held by June 17th. The Council could at this point decide either to continue with or possibly to abandon the project. Ultimately, the Secretary of State might resolve the matter.

see - The Planning Application.

It is important to remember of course that Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State, has still to decide whether to give planning permission for the the original project - AND - the County Council still owns the Saddlebow site.

It would seem that there is still a possibility that the original plan - revised a little perhaps - could be brought back to life and Saddlebow be developed.

Still casting a shadow over West Norfolk

UPDATE November 19 2014

The matter has continued to be discussed and The Borough Council and the County Council remain at loggerheads. As a result of this long running bone of contention, the Planning Inspectorate has appointed an Inspector to conduct a Public Inquiry into the matter. The Inspector will prepare a report for the Secretary of State who will make the decision about whether or not the Planning Application is to be approved.

The Public Inquiry will commence on 26th February 2013 at King's Lynn.

For further information about the incinerator, the planning application and the Public Inquiry see the links below :-



January 2013

West Norfolk's MP, Mr Henry Bellingham, has secured an adjournment debate in Parliament, on Wednesday January 16th, to make the case against the installation of the incinerator.

The County Council will debate two motions, opposing the incinerator, on Monday 14th. January.

One motion wants the the scrapping of the scheme on health grounds whilst the other asks that alternative waste disposal schemes should be considered.

Both of these motions were lost.

The Public Inquiry into the matter is set to commence on February 26th.

December 2012

West Norfolk Borough Council has signed a contract with Material Works, effective from April 2014, for 35,000 tonnes per annum of waste materials, both household and commercial, to be processed and recycled..... more information here

Borough Council agrees to enter into a conditional contract to develop re-cycling of domestic and commercial waste in West Norfolk, rather than using incineration -

more information here


The pre-inquiry meeting was held at Lynnsport of Wednesday 28th November. The Public Inquiry starts sittings on 26 February 2013. For more information see the link to

The Planning Application.


Borough Council drops the legal challenge to the refusal of a judicial review.

The Borough Council has dropped the legal challenge to the refusal of a judicial review.

Following the refusal in July of a judicial review, into the decision of the Secretary of State to award 'Waste Infrastructure Credits' for the construction of the incinerator, further legal advice to decide how to proceed was sought. Following that advice, the Council has decided not to pursue the matter. See the statement from the Council website below....

Following legal advice, the borough council announced on 18 October that it would not continue to pursue the judicial review. The borough council will concentrate on preparing a case against the construction of the incinerator that it will present to the planning inspector when an independent planning inquiry begins in February 2013. The press release below has further details.

View a copy of the press release

More information may be seen on the Borough Council website - Incinerator Update

The Farmers Campaign against the plan to construct the incinerator continues. Should you wish to join the campaign and make your voice heard, a letter is available to download from their website and send to the Secretary of State - follow this link to find the letter.

The letter asks the Secretary of State to reconsider the decision to award £169 million in waste infrastructure credits to Norfolk County Council (NCC) for its proposal to build a waste incinerator at the Willows Business Park, King’s Lynn.


The Communities Secretary has 'called in' the scheme to construct the planned incinerator at Saddlebow. A full public inquiry into the matter, led by the Planning Inspectorate, will be held, probably in 2013.

See the links above for more information about the Planning Application, and the Borough Council Incinerator update for their take on the matter.


The Environment Agency has given an environmental permit to Willows Power and Recycling Limited to operate the planned incinerator at Saddlebow. The Agency states that it is satisfied that the proposed plant will not harm the health of local people or the environment and have therefore granted the permit.

(Note that this decision deals solely with the environmental aspects of the planned installation. The matter of the Planning Application is entirely separate)

UPDATE. 18 July 2012

The Borough Council's application for permission to seek a JUDICIAL REVIEW of the decision of the Secretary of State to award the Waste Infrastructure Credits, had been REFUSED.

The judgement made is that there are no grounds for holding such a review.

See below - Update dated 6 April - for more about this matter.

The Borough Council's Incinerator Update describes the issue in greater detail.

UPDATE. 19 JUNE 2012

Planning Committee to discuss application on 29th June- see link above for details.


The Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk has lodged papers with the High Court applying for permission to judicially review the decision of the Secretary of State to grant the Waste Infrastructure Credits for the incinerator scheme.

The Borough Council claims that the criteria necessary for the awarding of the Credits had not been met and that the award should not therefore have been made. Additionally the Council claims that there is no 'broad consensus of support' for the project, that it is not consistent with the county's waste strategy and that the issues raised by the Secretary of State calling for additional evidence to support the grant had not been addressed.

DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) however says that the criteria for making the awards have been met.

The next step is for a judge to decide whether to allow the application to go forward. An alternative is that an order for an oral hearing is made.

To see the Borough Council's Press release about this latest news click here.

UPDATE. 30 MARCH 2012.

For the latest information about the planning application, and how you may comment on recent additional information provided by Cory Wheelabrator, see here

UPDATE. 13 MARCH 2012.

Borough Council, at a meeting on Monday 12 March, elected to continue to maintain its objection to the proposal to build the incinerator. See more about this here

UPDATE. 02 MARCH 2012.

The Environment Agency (EA) has dropped its objections to the scheme to build the plant.

The EA has previously objected to the scheme over concerns about the possible flood risk at the site; it was not satisfied that enough informations had been made available about the risk assessments made with regard to flooding, and whether other possible sites had been investigated.

However, now that additional information has been provided, the EA was satisfied on this matter and were no longer objecting to the proposal - subject to certain conditions being met should planning permission be granted. These included conditions concerning risk of flooding, pollution and biodiversity.

The EA notes though that the matter of the Environmental Permit, a separate issue, remains under consideration.

It is also reported that Natural England has similarly withdrawn its objection to the plans.

It is believed that the County Council Planning committee will discuss the application on 20th. April 2012 at a meeting, commencing at 10am, at County Hall.

The Planning Committee's report which will be discussed at the meeting should be posted on the County Council website a week before the meeting.


The second public consultation about the planning application for the installation of the incinerator is coming to an end - MONDAY FEBRUARY 20TH. is the last day. Any objections that you may have regarding the plans for incinerator MUST be received at County Hall by that date.

On Friday 10th. the Lynn News published a form letter which could be used to voice your objections. This may be downloaded from here.

You can find useful information about the application and the consultation procedure online, together with a list of frequently asked questions at: Planning Applications - on the County Council website.

You may view the documents at the Borough Council Offices -

Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk

King's Court, Chapel Street, King's Lynn PE30 1EX

or at the King's Lynn Library and the Gaywood Library.

Comments by Post to

Planning Services

Environment, Transport and Development

Many people will know that the planned installation of a waste disposal incinerator at King's Lynn remains a hot topic.A degree of public concern has been expressed about the matter, particularly with regard to public health implications.A series of public exhibitions were held around the local area, where visitors could see plans and discuss the matter.The results of a Borough ballot showed an overwhelming vote for NO to the proposal to

install the incinerator.

Website - go to County Council website herethen click on the link on that page to see planning documents and to make comments

Norfolk County Council

County Hall

Martineau Lane

Norwich NR1 2UD



When commenting make sure that the reference below is quoted

C/2/2011/2020 - The Willows Power and Recycling Centre

UPDATE. 18th. January 2012

The Environment Secretary has said that the Government will... 'issue a promissory note covering the availability of up to £91m waste infrastructure credits....'

In her letter to the leader of the County Council she says.. "you will understand that this decision solely concerns the availability of Defra's waste infrastructure credits should your project eventually proceed, subject to planning and other consents, to construction and operation"

In a letter to the leader of West Norfolk Council, Ms Spellman states that ....'local opposition is not, in itself, unusual in major energy from waste projects...'

She continues... 'The relevant criterion for my departments waste infrastructure credits does not therefore require support for the project itself at local level, but rather that there is a broad consensus. .....We consider that 'broad consensus' does allow for some dissent and does not in particular require unanimity amongst the interested local authorities. .....I have concluded that the project does meet my criteria for support'

West Norfolk Borough Council leader has said that the decision to award the grant will be challenged.

UPDATE. 14th. January 2012

Both Norwich City and West Norfolk have made known their opposition to the plant to the Secretary of State.

Norwich City Council has confirmed that it's stance against any form of incineration of waste has not changed since the authority passed a resolution on the matter in 2007. The City Council has written to the Secretary of State registering its opposition to the scheme to build the plant at King's Lynn. The Council proposes that if necessary a network of small anaerobic digestion plants should be built to dispose of material that cannot be recycled.

It is believed that at least four of Norfolk's District Council take the opposite view and do support the County Council; Campaigners against the plan fear that this might lead to the Environment Secretary approving the grant, despite the fact that there is no broad consensus of support. Norwich City Council, with West Norfolk District Council represent about 40% of the population of the county.

The Liberal Democrat group of the County Council have submitted a motion for a full council debate about the matter, to be held at the Council's meeting in March. A similar motion was blocked in September. The leader of the group has said that, as the final decision will rest with the cabinet, a full council debate on such an important matter should be held.

UPDATE.30th. December 2011

The planning application to build the incinerator is to be considered by the NCC Planning Committee on January 6th. 2012.

Members of the committee are being encouraged, by planning officers, to visit the proposed site and surroundings; such a visit would assist the discussions of the committee, ahead of a decision on the matter being made at a subsequent meeting.

Objectors to the application say that delaying any such visit would allow for a further public consultation to be completed.

UPDATE. 9th. December 2011

Incinerator - High Court judgement.

At the High Court on 5th. December, the Campaigners against the incinerator sought to be granted a judicial review into The County Council's decision to award a contract to Cory Wheelbrator.

The Campaign put the case that the Council had not followed the correct procedures during the process and said that the decision had been pre-determined before the vote on the matter at their meeting in March.

Mr Justice Nicol, in giving his judgement, said that the Campaign had not produced evidence to show that the Council had acted illegally. The claim therefore had to fail due to previous rulings in the appeal court. There will be no Judicial Review of the Council decision to award the contract.

It should be noted that the County Council still has to go through a planning application process, and The Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman, still has to allow the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to go ahead for the cash to become available.

See more about this on the EDP website

UPDATE 9th. November 2011.

PFI funding not approved.

In a letter to the County Council, Caroline Spelman, the Secretary of State for the Environment, has said that no Government funding will be made available for the incinerator until it can be shown that there is currently a broad consensus of opinion about the matter.

See the Lynn News article about this here...

Norfolk County Council's reaction to the Secretary of State's letter may be seen here...

UPDATE 5th. November 2011. The row Continues......

The Lynn news reports that the Local Government Ombudsman has become involved in the ongoing row about the proposed installation of the incinerator.

The campaigners fighting the plan have reported the County Council to the Ombudsman - claiming that the Council breached its own rules by moving to block discussion of a motion asking for a full inquiry into the matter.

The Council however claim that it could not discuss the motion because it would risk prejudicing their defence against a legal challenge to the decision to award the contract.

This case is to be brought before the High Court in December.

It is also reported that the County Council expects to hold another public consultation about the planning application for the plant. However, it is not clear when such a consultation would take place, nor how long it would last or by how much it might extend the the programme.

UPDATE 17 October 2011.

West Norfolk Council are continuing to pursue alternative waste disposal arrangements; this is despite the comments of the County Councillor charged with the responsibility for overseeing the project at King's Lynn, Bill Borrett, that the Borough Council was trying to "confuse the issue". Mr Borrett, in a statement to the County Council, said that " to my mind, the Borough Council's stated intentions (to pursue alternative plans) raise many more question than they answer"

The Borough Council leader, Mr Daubney, said that it would be irresponsible not to look at it (alternative solutions to the matter) and admitted that he had been "taken aback" by

Mr Borrett's remarks.

UPDATE 17 October 2011.


Elsewhere on this page you will see that in March The Secretary of State gave permission for the installation of an similar plant to that proposed for King's Lynn, at St Dennis in Cornwall. This despite a local objection to the plans.

However, there was a challenge to the ruling at the High Court; The following is part of a statement made by the court -

"The Cornwall Waste Forum St Dennis Branch persuaded High Court judge Mr Justice Collins to quash the Government's decision to grant planning permission for the "energy from waste plant" on land at St Dennis, which they say threatens two nearby "Special Areas of Conservation" (SACs) designated by the EU. The judge ordered the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, to reconsider the decision"

More of this statement may be seen here

UPDATE 19 September 2011.

The Lynn News has recently reported that in August a judge ordered that an oral hearing should take place into the campaigners application for a judicial review of the decision of Norfolk CC to place the contract for the incinerator. This hearing has been arranged for December 5th. at the High Court.

The application to the court alleges that Norfolk CC acted illegally in its decision to go ahead with awarding the contract, and also in rejecting challenges to the ruling, at a scrutiny meeting in April.

The uncertainty concerning the installation of the proposed incinerator is therefore to continue.

Hazardous ? - or Not ??

The Lynn News also reports that campaigners against the plans to install the incinerator have asked that the CC and the developers clarify the confusion about whether or not hazardous waste will be burned. It seems that there are two lists stating the types of waste that will be burned.

Included in the types of waste to be handled, listed in the application for the Environmental Permit, are animal waste and insulation materials. This however is different from the list of materials included in the report submitted to the Council's cabinet in March.

The confusion appears to arise from the coded system used for describing waste. In some cases it seems that whether a particular material is described as hazardous depends on how it is disposed of.

One view is that a material disposed of in one bin may be described as hazardous, whereas if it it disposed of via a different bin it might be considered to be non-hazardous.

The CC are quoted as saying - "To be clear, the proposed facility will treat non-hazardous, residual municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste of a similar nature."

UPDATE 19 August 2011.

An attempt is being made to force an independent inquiry into the decision to award the contract for the incinerator.

An on-line petition calls on the County Council to debate and vote on a motion demanding that they appoint solicitors to conduct an inquiry into the matter; to report to the council on whether they believe that the decision to award the contract is flawed, and if so to make recommendations on what action the council should then take. Note that this petition closes in early February 2012. To sign the petition online, you will be required to give your name and address and to have an active e-mail address.

To sign the petition go to epetition

UPDATE 29 July 2011. The County Council formal public consultation process has been extended and will now end on 17th. August 2011.

To take part in the consultation, you may make your views about the planned incinerator by

writing to:-

Planning Services, Environment, Transport & Development, Norfolk County Council, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2UD.


In all communications with the County Council about this always use the reference:

C/2/2011/2020 - The Willows Power and Recycling Centre

You may also useEmail - or goOnlineTHE PUBLIC CONSULTATION ENDED ON 17th. August.Details about the Farmers Campaign and a 'draft' letter that you may use can be seen here.

UPDATE 22 July 2011 - The Environmental Agency is to conduct a second public consultation following the application for a permit to operate the plant at Saddlebow, should it be built.

Two drop in sessions will be held early in August, at The Dukes's Head Hotel on Tuesday 2nd August between 10am and 4pm AND on Wednesday 3rd August between 1pm and 7pm.

Officials are asking for the public to make known their views on the plans for the incinerator.

The consultation will run from Monday 25th July until September 16th.

It is necessary for the developers to obtain a permit to operate, separate from the planning application, which is the subject of the other consultation - see below.

The Agency's role is to consider the environmental impact of the plant on health, air, water, land, habitats for animals and plants, noise etc.

UPDATE 20 June 2011 - to see a report of the meeting held on Friday 17th at Lynnsport click here (This link will take you an EDP page)

UPDATE 16 June 2011

The Formal consultation on planning application for the Power and Recycling Centre at Saddlebow is to begin next week; running from 22 June to the 17th August.

To see more about this process - and how to make your views known - click here

A planning application has been submitted by Cory Wheelabrator for an energy from waste plant at Willows Business Park, King’s Lynn. To gain an understanding of what has been applied for, click here to read a non-technical summary of the Environmental Statement.

Some details of the planning process may be seen here

UPDATE 15 June 2011.

A meeting of Anti Incinerator campaigners is to be held on

FRIDAY 17th. JUNE at LYNNSPORT at 7pm.

see more news about this here (This link will take you to the Lynn News website) and to

see a report of the meeting held at Lynnsport on Friday 17th June click here

Update 3 June 2011.

It is reported that County Council officials have insisted that recent political and legal challenges to the plans to install the incinerator have not altered the current timetable for the project.

Campaigners have launched a legal challenge to the decision of NCC to award a contract for the installation of the plant.

Mr Bellingham, the local MP, has called for a new working party, to consider all waste management options for the county, to be set up.

It has also been reported that the Environment Secretary - Caroline Spelman - has said that she was "greatly concerned" over the strength of feeling against the plans - including the opposition of the Borough Council and of the result of the referendum held earlier in the year.

A Letter from DEFRA urged the council to ensure that the scheme met all the criteria , including a requirement for a broad consensus of local support.

Update: 18 March 2011

A special meeting of the Borough Council was held at King's Lynn on Thursday 17th. March to discuss the matter.

See here - The Borough Council website - for a reference to the meeting, details of the four recommendations proposed and subsequently agreed, and for links to a recording of the meeting on Youtube.

The Borough Council have subsequently put aside a sum of money to be made available for the costs of taking legal action against the County Council over the matter.

Update: 10 March 2011

It is understood that at a meeting on Monday 7th March, the County Council decided, knowing of the result of the ballot in the Borough, to proceed with the plan to install the incinerator.

The Secretary of State has recently given permission in favour of the installation of a plant, despite a local campaign against the idea, at

St Dennis in Cornwall

There are a number of other similar campaigns being conducted around the country against the installation of incinerators.

Links to other campaigns are listed here

(Please note that we have not checked that all the listed sites are indeed still active)