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West Norfolk Council votes through motion to continue opposing Wisbech incinerator

West Norfolk Council has voted through a motion which reasserts its position against the recently-approved incinerator in Wisbech.

The motion, put forward by Cllr Alex Kemp during the authority’s full meeting on Thursday, did require a number of amendments from Cllr Michael De Whalley – but was eventually approved.

Despite eleventh hour pleas from MPs, councillors and campaigners, the controversial MMV Medworth proposals were approved by Claire Coutinho, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, in February.

Plans for the Wisbech incinerator were approved last month
Plans for the Wisbech incinerator were approved last month

Cllr Kemp said she hoped her motion would allow the borough council to continue showing “strong opposition” to the decision.

She said: “You don’t put a 90-metre chimney like that for fun.”

She was backed by Cllr Tom Ryves, who said: “It might be state of the art technology, but it is a very old idea.

“Burning it (waste) is just a throwaway solution – it is an old solution, it is the wrong solution.

“I can’t see, for the life of me, why we would put something like this in a Fenland town. It is insane.”

Cllr De Whalley, the council’s cabinet member for climate change and biodiversity, made a number of changes to the motion, with Cllr Kemp accepting them.

These included the deletion of certain words, editing of some phrases, and an addition to make clear that if the council is informed that a legal challenge against the incinerator is likely to be successful, it would support it in “a proportionate manner”.

Cllr Pallavi Devulapalli voiced her support for the motion and said that “time is of the essence”, while Cllr Francis Bone applauded Cllr Kemp for putting it forward.

However, Cllr Brian Long said he would like to see clarification on where any funds for legal advice or action would come from.

Cllr Stuart Dark also said he wanted to know what discussions have taken place between the borough council and the likes of Fenland District Council, Norfolk County Council and local MPs.

He asked: “What does the motion actually do? What does it bring?”

But Cllr Alistair Beales said: “This is useful for people to see that we are still against it and to see what our stances are.”

After a vote, the motion was successfully carried.

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