King’s Lynn incinerator decision is put on hold by Eric Pickles
17:40 28 June 2012
As county councillors prepare to vote on whether to give the go-ahead to the controversial King’s Lynn incinerator, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles tonight put the decision on hold.
Norfolk’s planning committee meets at County Hall tomorrow, to consider a recommendation to approve the plant despite overwhelming opposition.
But the decision will not now be confirmed until after Mr Pickles has reviewed the paperwork. And the Communities Secretary could also order a public enquiry into the “energy from waste” plant.
Hundreds of members of public are expected to attend the meeting, where objectors will be allowed three minutes each to speak.
A 570-page report to councillors says that of 8,375 responses received from the public, 7,609 objected to the building the “energy from waste” scheme at Saddlebow, near the A47.
All nine Norfolk MPs have called for Mr Pickles to call-in the decision, meaning it would be taken out off the council’s hands.
A full public enquiry would then be conducted, chaired by a planning inspector, before a decision was taken by Mr Pickles.
A spokesman for the Communities Secretary said: “As well as the letter from the MPs, we’ve had a lot of letters from the public. Given the level of interest in this, we would look at the papers to decide whether to call it in.”
Norfolk County Council officials were told of the decision this afternoon. Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: “We had anticipated that this would be a step the Government was likely to take to give itself time to consider a very substantial planning application.
“We had already sent the Committee report and appendices to the Communities and Local Government department.
“Like the county council, the government will want to ensure they have considered all the issues very carefully. We have always made it clear that the county council will provide every assistance if CLG decides to review the decision, or call in the application for the Secretary of State to decide. We are entirely confident in the procedures that have been followed.
“The government clearly expects the county council to make a decision, however we have been asked not to issue a decision notice until the Secretary of State has been able to review matters.
“This means that the committee will consider the application tomorrow, but if it decides to approve, a decision notice will not be issued until the Secretary of State has completed a review and decided whether it should be referred to him for determination.”
Our reporters will be providing live coverage from tomorrow’s meeting on www.edp24.co.uk. You can take part using the hashtag #klinc on Twitter. Proceedings are expected to get under way at 10am.