A giant incinerator has been given the go-ahead despite fierce opposition.

Energy secretary Claire Coutinho has given MVV Environment permission to build the Medworth burner on the outskirts of Wisbech

The plant, which would be one of the biggest of its kind in Europe, would burn more than 600,000 tonnes of waste a year and generate electricity for local businesses.

The site on Algores Way is close to schools, a college and land where hundreds of new homes are planned near the A47.

Eastern Daily Press: Protestors outside County Hall, in NorwichProtestors outside County Hall, in Norwich (Image: Danielle Booden)

Councils on both sides of the Norfolk - Cambridgeshire border, including Norfolk County Council, West Norfolk Council, Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council objected.

They raised fears over the levels of carbon dioxide, the impact of having more lorries on the road, damage to historic sites and farms in west Norfolk and argued that the current capacity of the waste disposal chain was sufficient.

But a decision notice issued by the Planning Inspectorate said: "The secretary of state has considered the overall planning balance and, for the reasons set out in this letter, has concluded that the public benefits associated with the proposed development outweigh the harms identified, and that development consent should therefore be granted."

Eastern Daily Press: An artist's impression of the Wisbech incineratorAn artist's impression of the Wisbech incinerator (Image: MVV Environment)

It added the plant would reduce waste going to landfill and provide "a near constant supply of electricity".

It said: "The secretary of state notes that the proposed development would make a positive contribution to addressing the urgent need for new nationally significant electricity generating infrastructure."

The inspectorate recommended approval after a series of public hearings.

The decision comes almost 10 years after plans for an incinerator at Saddlebow, on the outskirts of King's Lynn, were abandoned after a long running campaign.