UPDATE: West Norfolk council backs legal challenge against King’s Lynn incinerator
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Councillors agree to set aside up to £200,000 to pay for legal action against the plan.
The mood was defiant in the old Stone Hall at Lynn Town Hall this morning, as West Norfolk council’s cabinet voted unanimously in favour of legal action.
Council leader Nick Daubney said the meeting followed an earlier decision by the council to express its opposition to the incinerator proposed for Saddlebow.
He said the council would need access to the best legal advice before proceeding, together with independent experts.
A report from chief executive Ray Harding set out the options for legal action.
More than 65,000 people voted against the the plans to build the “energy-from-waste” plant at Saddlebow, south of King’s Lynn, in a poll conducted by West Norfolk council.
But Norfolk County Council’s cabinet decided in March to award Anglo-American consortium Cory Wheelabrator the contract to build and run the plant.
The county says it has followed “best practice” and the plan to build the incinerator at Saddlebow, near King’s Lynn, has ministerial backing.
But a report setting out the case for a legal challenge says says agreeing a £20m penalty clause with Cory if the incinerator does not go ahead could be grounds for a judicial review.
Council leader Nick Daubney told this morning’s meeting: “You can’t undermine the fact 65,000 people voted and said they did not want this incinerator.
“We need to get straight on the case we know what people feel, why we’re being treated with such contempt is beyond me.
“We are a community and we have to act in the best interests of this community.”
Councillor Brian Long, who also sits on the county council, said he fully supported the legal move. He told the meeting the county council had acted in a “deplorable” way.
Today’s meeting also heard council officers were looking at whether the council should withdraw from the Norfolk Waste Partnership.
Mr Long said recycling afforts have “faltered” in Norfolk and officers were examining whether there were better solutions locally than a county-wide partnership.
Mr Daubney said local solutions could weaken the business case for the incinerator.
This morning’s decision will have to be agreed by a meeting of the full council tonight.
See link, top right, for full report and background on Norfolk’s Burning Issue.
Check back here later for updates as they happen - and you can also follow Chris Bishop on Twitter live as events unfold today.