Decision on King’s Lynn incinerator legal challenge put on hold

Anti-incinerator campaigners at a previous meeting

Anti-incinerator campaigners at a previous meeting

Archant Norfolk 2011

A decision over whether campaigners battling plans for an incinerator in King’s Lynn can challenge the decision by Norfolk County Council’s to award a contract for the controversial scheme in the High Court has been put on hold.

At the Administrative Court of the Royal Courts of Justice today. Mr Justice Nicol heard an application for a judicial review into the process by which the decision was made to award a contractor for the incinerator to Anglo-US consortium Cory Wheelabrator.

But at the end of a day long hearing, where allegations were made that the council’s cabinet had predetermined their decision, the judge did not rule whether to allow a judicial review or not.

He indicated he would contact the parties as quickly as possible, but did not give a date.

Solicitors working on behalf of opponents to the proposed incinerator at Saddlebow had served notice on Norfolk County Council in June signalling their intention of a challenge.

Anti-incinerator campaigner Michael de Whalley, from Grimston near King’s Lynn, took the action, claiming the county council had not followed the correct procedure in awarding the contract to Anglo-US consortium Cory Wheelabrator.

Norfolk County Council agreed in March to award the contract to build the incinerator, known as the Willows Power and Recycling Facility, despite a borough council poll which showed 65,000 people in West Norfolk were against it.

The county council argue the incinerator is needed to deal with Norfolk’s waste problem, claiming it will save £8m a year and help avoid landfill fines.

But campaigners say more efficient, alternative technologies are available and are concerned about the health impact of emissions from the proposed plant.

Under the scheme, Norfolk County Council hopes to receive £169m of government cash using PFI credits to help offset the £500m plus cost of the project.

But the council suffered a blow last month when environment secretary Caroline Spelman revealed she had put those credits on hold.

She said she wanted the council to provide “additional evidence” of a broad consensus to dealing with waste - with West Norfolk Council having effectively withdrawn from the Norfolk Waste Partnership.

The council, which insists it was told by her department in September that all relevant information had been received, has since been speaking to officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the issue.

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