Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?




Ever wondered what a Borough Councillor's role entails?
I did! I was elected as a Councillor for the Lynn South & West ward of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk on 5th May 2011.

A little bit about me:
I have lived in South Lynn for 7 years with my wife and work locally for the Norfolk Primary Care Trust as an IT Manager.

I am a Labour Councillor and whilst the local Labour group made some encouraging gains in the May elections (moving from 4 councillors to 13) we are still very much a minority opposition as the Tories hold 42 of the 64 council seats.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Incinerator: Public Meeting at Lynnsport

Attended the public meeting to discuss the Willows Incinerator at Lynnsport tonight, the meeting had been called jointly by the Farmers Campaign (led my Mike Knights) and King's Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN - led by Michael de Whalley) and drew a very large crowd of concerned residents.

I published tweets directly from the meeting on my twitter feed and a summary of the most salient points is provided below:

Mike Knights kicked off the meeting by giving an update on the situation so far,
  • Currently the Contract with Cory Wheelabrator has not been signed so the £20.3million penalty clause does not apply yet.
  • DEFRA have not yet awarded the PFI credits on which the project hinges.
  • In order to satisfy the PFI requirement to show broad support for the project Norfolk County Council will be contacting parish councils across the county and as most of them will be apathetic towards the plight of King's Lynn, they will not respond. This will be seen as support by NCC.
Michael de Whalley updated the meeting on the status of the legal action he has brought against the county council. This action is seeking a judicial review of the decision taken by NCC to award the contract to Cory Wheelabrator with specific reference to the proposed penalty clause of £20.3million (and whether this will weigh on the minds of the planning committee who will be at the same authority that is liable for the penalty) and the way in which the Borough Council's referendum has been ignored by the County Council.

The planning application was submitted last week and a six week consultation period begins next week. All opponents were encouraged to object to the planning application - whilst the County Council website states that they will be encouraging letters from statutory consultees and 'local' residents this should not deter objectors living further afield from submitting an objection.
The planning committee should take account of the number of objections received but each letter should raise valid objections and the use of 'proforma' objections should be discouraged as they will be amalgamated into a single response. A list of valid grounds for objection were discussed, amongst these were:

  • Noise
  • Dust
  • Smell
  • Air Pollution & Public Health (3 out of 7 Air Pollution monitoring sites are in the King's Lynn area)
  • Climate Change
  • Traffic Congestion & Road Safety
  • Flood Risk
  • Ecology
  • Public Fear and Apprehension
  • Risk to Livelihood (e.g. Farm produce)
  • Ground Stability
  • Visual appearance
it is not possible to object on grounds of negative effect on property prices or that it is undemocratic in the context of the Borough Council run referendum.

The campaign websites at


will provide more information and exemplar letters etc over the coming week or so.

The consultation period runs between 22nd June and 3rd August 2011 and there will be drop in sessions at Libraries at the following dates/times:

Kings Lynn Library:
Saturday 2nd July 2011, 10:00-15:00
Wednesday 13th July 2011, 15:00-20:00

Gaywood Library:
Tuesday 28th June 2011, 15:00-20:00
Thursday 14th July 2011, 15:00-20:00

A full copy of the planning application is available from the County Council but could cost between £60-£120. Parish Councils can get a free copy so if you want to see it you could try contacting your local parish council.

Details of the planning process are available at the NCC website here along with a link to the actual planning application documentation

Fundraising

The campaigns made an appeal for funds to help the fight against the incinerator (in particular to support the application for a judicial review by Michael de Whalley) and this will be explained in more detail in Tuesday's Lynn News. It was pointed out that if every person who voted no in the incinerator referendum donated just one pound, this would likely cover the eventual cost of the legal action (estimated to somewhere around the £50,000 mark)

Q&A

The most interesting questions from the floor concerned the amount of water that would be required to 'quench' the bottom ash that would be produced as a result of the incinerator, particularly given the recent record levels of drought experienced and the levels of transport required to transport waste around the county to feed the incinerator.

Overall a very encouraging evening, I would encourage as many people as possible to submit an objection to the planning application, I certainly will be.

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