By Chris Bishop
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A new inspector has been appointed to head the public inquiry into controversial plans to build an incinerator in King’s Lynn.
Ken Smith, who was originally due to oversee the inquiry, is now unable to do so because of illness.
While it will still open as expected next Tuesday morning, the hearing will then be adjourned until the following week to give Elizabeth Hill, the new inspector, time to prepare.
Persona Associates, which is arranging the programme, said the the first full week would begin on Tuesday, March 5.
Nick Daubney, leader of West Norfolk Council, said: “Any delay at this stage is unfortunate, as all parties have their witnesses and legal support lined up. We can accommodate a small amount of slippage, but would hope this is no longer than the few days already intimated by the Planning Inspectorate.”
A county council spokesman added: “We’re sorry to change inspector but everyone’s anxious that this should get under way.”
Persona expects the inquiry to run at least until the week ending April 19, sitting on four days of the week. But the end date remains uncertain because there are several non-sitting days due to the Easter break.
An evening session has been booked for Tuesday, March 26, and at least one other evening session is likely to be arranged.
There will be opening submissions from each of the four main parties on the first day, at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange. The venue has been changed from the Professional Development Centre, in Kilham’s Way, for the first day, because hundreds are expected to attend.
Submissions will be provided by a QC on behalf of Cory Environmental Management Ltd, the company behind the proposed “energy from waste” plant, Norfolk County Council, West Norfolk Council and the KLWIN (King’s Lynn Without Incineration) group.
After the opening submissions, there are a further 22 technical witnesses to be heard, each of which will be cross examined. There are also more than 30 “third parties” who wish to appear and have their say.
Once the inquiry is concluded, the inspector will consider all of the evidence before she makes her recommendation to communities secretary Eric Pickles, who will have the final say.