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Suffolk: Incinerator set to burn waste from north Norfolk

13:34 17 July 2014

The incinerator at Blakenham has now started operating - with pink smoke emerging during early testing. Photo: Gavin Hodge

The incinerator at Blakenham has now started operating - with pink smoke emerging during early testing. Photo: Gavin Hodge

Gavin Hodge

Suffolk’s new incinerator is to burn tens of thousands of tonnes of waste from north Norfolk and Great Yarmouth, it was confirmed today.

Earlier this year we revealed that Suffolk County Council (SCC) was in negotiations with Norfolk to take some of that county’s waste when the incinerator – or energy-from-waste plant – is fully operational at the end of the summer.

Now a deal has been signed between the two authorities for Suffolk to take 40,000 tonnes of waste – a fifth of Norfolk’s non-recyclable rubbish – a year for at least two years.

It is expected to save both councils about £1million a year – Suffolk will see economies of scale from the plant burning more waste and Norfolk will pay less in landfill tax.

The incinerator is just starting operations in Great Blakenham and is designed to handle up to 269,000 tonnes of waste each year.

SCC is committed to sending 170,000 tonnes for treatment – meaning there is capacity to take more waste from local councils and private companies in the East of England.

The operator of the Great Blakenham plant, SITA UK, is seeking further contracts to make sure it runs to maximum efficiency.

Most of the waste that will be sent to Suffolk is currently sent to Aldeby landfill site near Beccles, and comes from households in north Norfolk and Great Yarmouth.

The waste will instead be transported to Suffolk from next month, and will arrive in eight HGVs per day, using designated lorry routes.

The contrast between the Suffolk and Norfolk incinerators could not be greater – while that in Blakenham has now started operating, Norfolk’s proposal for a plant at Kings Lynn led to years of controversy before the plans were finally abandoned at a potentially massive cost earlier this year.

SCC leader Mark Bee said: “We have always believed that our Energy from Waste facility is a good environmental solution for Suffolk and great for the tax payer.

“The contract will save £8m by stopping waste going into landfill in Suffolk, so I am delighted to add to that figure in a way that financially benefits both our councils.

“Today demonstrates yet another way we’re working in close partnership with Norfolk; this deal is not only good news for both county councils, but for all those living in Norfolk and Suffolk.”

George Nobbs, Norfolk County Council’s leader, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with my fellow leader in Suffolk and set up this new and historic way of sharing services between our counties.

“This deal demonstrates unequivocally that local authorities like us have the determination, the will, the ability and the maturity to share their services where such arrangements will bring mutual benefits. That is certainly the case with this agreement.”

The move was given a cautious welcome by Blakenham county councillor John Field.

He said: “We have always known they would need to bring in more waste than Suffolk can provide, and so long as the lorries stick to the approved route and don’t go through the village itself then there should not be anything to worry about.

“I was worried about the plant at first, but it seems to have been accepted by most people.”


  • When the incinerator was in the planning stage we were told on numerous occasions that waste would not be bought from anywhere else but Suffolk! Big surprise that we were lied to. Also the picture printed has been doctored as you camnot see full height chimneys from the direction the photo os taken from. Very dodgy practice Evening Star.

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    Saturday, July 19, 2014

  • I am interested to know how this deal is benefiting both Norfolk and Suffolk. I can see how Norfolk benefits, they get to keep the £100m they were going to spend on the Kings Lynn incinerator. But how exactly does it benefit Suffolk? I am doubtful that our council would have been smart enough to ensure that all the associated costs (not least the wear and tear on the A140) will be paid for. I suspect that the private sector participants will be profiting at the taxpayers' expense.

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Good idea.

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Roy, coal is a non-renewable fossil fuel who's reserves are almost used up and the remainder extremely costly to extract from the ground. This is an incinerator, not a power station, and the energy produced is a coincident and welcome by-product. I've watched the incinerator being built from my bedroom window, and now it's smoke stack is billowing we joke that they are choosing the new pope. Let's hope we're still able to laugh when the full impact the lorries and the acrid smoke will make on our lives.

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • The incinerator makes a profit because it is operating on slave labour. The raw material is domestic refuse which has a heating value per ton about a quarter that of coal. However, for some reason we have decided in the UK to move away from coal and gas and towards burning material collected from houses and fields. Ordinarily a power company would pay the supplier of its fuel at around the market rate for the trouble the supplier goes to in foraging for the raw material, sorting, grading and delivering it to the power company. However, in the case of the Great Blakenham incinerator and those across the UK, every single householder is largely obliged to carry out this operation without payment, or indeed has to pay the local authority either for moving the raw material either by direct payment, fine or local taxation. Essentially, homeowners are unpaid "coal" miners. The scam works because the population has been conditioned to look upon discarded domestic material as worthless toxic unsightly waste rather than a valuable fuel. Eventually a case may be brought to the ECHR making to ban this under the EU regulations and UN recommendations about slave labour. In the meantime it is worth pointing out that householders are under no ultimate legal obligation to sort their discarded material into differently brighly coloured plastic bins each month unless they have a contract with the council to do so in exchange for payment, however much some bureaucrat at the Town Hall may try to bully them to believe the contrary. The legal obligation remains with the council to remove unwanted domestic materials and articles if the householder cannot or is unwilling to burn or compost them.

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    Roy Everett

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Great 16 40mph 40 foot lorries slowing coming down the A120 everyday. Why can't the rubbish be put on the underused railway line between Norfolk and Suffolk?

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • With a major railway line from Norfolk running only a few metres from the incinerator, the sensible thing to do would be to build sidings there so that waste from the north could be transported by rail rather than by road. But as ever, the sensible thing to do doesn't get done.

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    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • The photo's title is very misleading, the pink smoke shown above was when they steam cleaned the building to get rid of rust, not smoke from test burning as you suggest.

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    Robert Ward

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • Unbelievable. Norfolk residents will not have their own incinerator because of "pollution" yet has anybody asked anybody in Ipswich where are this smoke blows no. Another slap in the face of Ipswich by Suffolk CC we are now Norwich's rubish tip. And it benefits both counties, how Mr Bee it should be at full commercial rates and we should be costing Norfolk as much as possible not rolling over and going oh alright have it half price. That incinerator should only burn waste from Ipswich, Mid Suffolk and Babeigh from the people affected by it. As usual the people of Ipswich gets s***w and will just shrug their shoulders and put up with it. An absolute disgrace.

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    The Ginge

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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