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Councillors to vote again on whether to ditch Norfolk incinerator

PUBLISHED: 10:02 20 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:17 20 March 2014

The proposed incinerator site at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt.

The proposed incinerator site at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt.

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Councillors will vote next month at an extraordinary meeting of Norfolk County Council on whether to axe the controversial incinerator proposed at King’s Lynn.

With communities secretary Eric Pickles yet to decide whether to ratify planning permission for the plant at Saddlebow, opponents of the scheme want the council to vote on whether to scrap it.

The meeting, which will take place on Monday, April 7, follows a request by councillors Toby Coke (UKIP), Independents Richard Bird and Alexandra Kemp, Tim East (Liberal Democrat), Andrew Boswell (Green) and John Dobson (Conservative).

The council will consider:

• Whether, in view of the delay in the Secretary of State’s planning decision in relation to the Willows, it wishes to recommend to cabinet that the contract is allowed to terminate to avoid an increase in the compensation figure, currently capped at £20.3m

• And whether or not, if planning is granted, it recommends to cabinet to continue to implement the revised project

The meeting will be followed on the same day by an extra meeting of the controlling Labour/Liberal Democrat cabinet to consider any recommendation that may arise from the council meeting.

In October, Norfolk County Council voted, by 40 votes to 38, to agree to a revised project plan for the burner at King’s Lynn.

But the extraordinary meeting will give councillors another say on whether the plant, which has been hugely controversial, should go ahead, although the final decision will rest with the council’s cabinet.

The council has already agreed a contract with Cory Wheelabrator to run the plant and had awarded planning permission for it.

But that was called in by Mr Pickles, leading to a public inquiry last year. Mr Pickles has the inspector’s report and recommendation, but has yet to make a decision on whether to allow that permission.

Meanwhile, the government has cancelled waste credits which would have been worth £169m over the lifetime of the plant.

Reports drawn up by council officers say the possible compensation payable to Cory Wheelabrator if planning permission is not secured would increase by £5m, from £26m to £31m after May 1.

A number of councillors had claimed they had not been made aware of that, ahead of last October’s vote.

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