Put us out of our misery – that is the message which leaders at Norfolk County Council have sent to the man who will decide whether the controversial incinerator at King’s Lynn will go ahead or not.

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Communities secretary Eric Pickles had been due to make a decision on the burner on January 14, but two months on and he has yet to make an announcement.

The planning application for the burner at Saddlebow was “called in” by the government in August 2012 after a record number of people wrote in.

An inquiry was held last spring and the report of the inspector who headed the probe reached Mr Pickles’ desk in the autumn. A decision had been expected on or before January 14.

Now, county council leader George Nobbs, Labour, his Liberal Democrat deputy James Joyce and Conservative Bev Spratt, the chairman of the council’s environment, waste, transport and development overview and scrutiny panel, have written to Mr Pickles calling for him to announce his decision.

The letter states: “It seems wholly unreasonable to withhold your decision, whatever that decision may be, in the knowledge that the county council as a direct result is prejudiced financially by the delay.

“Norfolk needs to know whether we will have to pay approximately £30m in compensation to the contractors in the event of planning failure. The 840,000 people of Norfolk who depend on the services that we provide deserve an answer.

“The absence of any clear reason or explanation for the delay is leading to suggestions locally that the decision is being delayed for political reasons, a rumour that we are sure you would wish to dispel just as strongly as we do.

“This protracted delay is damaging both to council taxpayers and the public faith in democracy.”

In October last year, Defra pulled a £169m grant towards the scheme, which campaigners hoped would see the plans go up in smoke. But amid warnings from the council’s finance officers of the financial impact to the council of cancelling the contract – advice which some critics have criticised – councillors decided to press ahead and agreed, by 40 votes to 38, to agree a revised project plan for the Saddlebow plant. There have been calls for an extraordinary council meeting next month for the full council to vote once again on whether to press ahead with the scheme.

What’s your view on the incinerator saga? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

30 comments

  • Wheelabrator still pulling the puppet strings. When they say jump NCC says how high. Nobbs and Borrett protecting the interests of a dirty stinking waste incinerator company. When they should be protecting families that are already living with a real fear of flooding in King's Lynn. It is immoral to expect families to endure the fear of flooding, and at the same time, living under the chimney of a poisonous cancer factory for the next 25 years. Shame on the officers and councillors at NCC who are treating thousands of families in West Norfolk as if we have no human rights.

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    Jack

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Scrap it now!

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    Barking

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • This just demonstrates, once more, what a ridiculous mistake the current administration in County Hall made by refusing to pull the plug on the contract last October - as it was legally entitled to do - and pay the "reduced" compensation of £26m to CW. That would have given total certainty - which we lack at the moment - so that a much cheaper solution to the waste problem could be found. It would also have ended the risk that Eric Pickles might just grant planning permission, so saddling us all with a £600m bill over the next twenty five years. And that without the support of £169m from central government. It makes the current administration as guilty as the previous one, when it first entered into the contract. Whatever the ultimate result, there should surely one day be a public inquiry into all of this..

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    John Martin

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Gnobbs, Toulouse Lautrec and Spratt. What a lovely combination. I cannot think of anyone better. Oh no, that's wrong I can. Any three people on the planet in a random choice pattern would be better and more able to speak knowledgeably about incineration and just about anything else. I would have laughed like a drain at the combination of Joyce and Gnobbs but to add in Spratt who has a nickname very close to his own name gives the whole exercise an exquisite hysteria.

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    alecto

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • The Bellingham effect is starting to kick in. NCC are about £200 million down now as a result of the anti campaign delay tactics and the tax payer of Norfolk is footing their bill. Thanks for nothing anti campaigners.

    Report this comment

    Del Boy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Put them out of their mis.ery? Don't tem.pt us! I see NCC have once again opted for the same dema.nding and impol.ite way that lost them the PFI, who on earth do they think they are, really? Bedoomed, the legal beagle as you refer to her also wants the project to go ahead, so she's not going to tell us of a way out is she? We all wonder that Maryjane but isn't there a clause in the contract to say Norfolk taxpayers have to cough up £20.3m plus to CW to find out? If it meant them all getting their just desserts I'd bung in a few grand!

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    Honest John

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Maybe the toxic trio should send a bill to Borrett for the outstanding millions? Only an arrogant fool would sign such a contract and gamble with public money without true regard to the possible consequences.

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    User Removed

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Democrat claims he knows about the decision because he said so on here in January; democrat; Saturday, February 1, 2014 “The decision has been made. On environmental grounds of course. “ The anti campaigners had better give him a call to explain. Apparently he claims to be “ Not wise but in the know”……..Don’t all laugh at once in case it causes an earthquake.

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    Mad Dog

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Do remember that the Cory incinerator at Belverdere in Bexley took 12 years to get through planning! This project faces many more years of argument in the UK and EU courts. Mr pickles has to take all the time he - or rather his top level planning experts and legal advisors - need to make whatever decision made as robust to future challenge as possible. Delboy why do you think Mr Pickles has not yet issued his decision? One other point thinking back to June 2012 the shameful planning committee moaned, one left half way through, because of the length of time the alleged debate took, 5 hrs if my memory serves, those working for Mr Pickles have to consider 30 days worth of debated evidence summarised by the imspector along with additional submissions in view of the withdrawl of the pfi credits and other matters.

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    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • My favourite from democrat was earlier than that; democrat Monday, January 27, 2014 “I`ve already told you Pickles has made his decision. “ I wonder why Mr Pickles told democrat but no one else in the world? As he said - not wise but “in the know”. Ha ha very funny that one.

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    Lyn from Lynn

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • For some reason this bit of the letter was omitted from the story “In all, it is ten months since the planning matters were considered in detail at the inquiry.” Excuse me? Have they forgotten the small matter of the PFI being withdrawn in October due to lack of national need, its importance was made very clear in the QC’s summing up, oh and perhaps Mr Pickles is also looking at the effects that flooding would have in light of recent events, IBA across the fields and into the water polluting the Wash? You’re probably spot on Bikerboy, they can’t use the £90m tactic again, desper.ate times.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • @Ironheart. Excellent point. Is it possible that NCC might be considering wasting public money on challenging the delay?

    Report this comment

    Kadmos

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • There ought to be some financial compensation available to the County Council through some legal channel surely? Why are our legal beagles at County Hall sitting on this, is there no precedent for forcing a Minister to make a decision?

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    bedoomed

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Now why is GNobbs harrassing Mr Pickles for a decision, he has already said its a complex case and it will take time. It wouldn't be that GNobbs is hoping for a yes from Eric before the council get the chance of a second vote in a couple of weeks time would it?

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    Bikerboy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Problem with the incinerator planning application, too many corners have been cut to justify building a white elephant. The kevingate fiasco has highlighted how NCC is desperate to please CW knowing they have violations longer than the channel tunnel. Just have to look at casualties from CEO David White, ex leader Derrick Murphy and many county councillors that have lost their jobs paying serious money in benefits. Councillors wonder why this planning application is being scrutinised to the hilt. I urge the secretary of state to investigate what’s their hurry when the leader George Nobbs ask for the public inquiry but now wants to cut corners!

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    Alan Allan

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Two old men in Downham trying to skew a result where a sample group was polled by a legally recognised group of over 70k and it came out above 90% against the development despite the local planners trying to sneakily wave it through under the nose of Eric Pickles when they thought he wasn't looking. Fact. And priceless too - I'm still laughing.

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    User Removed

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • I think the hilarious quote you are after was ;Democrat Thursday, January 23, 2014; “Not wise. Just in the know. “

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    Mrs Willingale

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Kadmos of course you are right on how the SOS will view the winging after all the messenger boy is always saying that anyone who complains is ignored as a troublemaker!

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Let's get a bit of honesty here!! None of the three signatories to this letter attended the Enquiry on any day therefore they are unable to make a balanced decision. They have not been a witness to alternative greener methods of waste disposal because they have not yet allowed a demonstration from one of the main contenders for the waste plant project. The only information they have is from the officer reports which have been proved to be lacking in integrity.As far as costs are concerned, any right thinking individual will see that it is better in the long term to pay off CW than have a debt of six hundred millon for the next 25 years and probably beyond, after decommissioning. They are running scared at the moment and do not realise that they are only losing the respect of the electorate by continuing to be in denial. CW is not the only kid on the block, however, its reputation as shown on the internet, should have been a warning, but those who signed the contract PRIOR to receiving planning permission have their own agenda. We wonder what encouraged them to do so in the first place. Food for thought.,

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    maryjane

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • I would suggest Mr Pickles is giving NCC a rather large hint what the outcome will be, he is also leaving things open to allow NCC to throw it out themselves and save face instead of being corrected like naughty little school boys. Come on NCC you have lied about going bankrupt and a number of other things, be honest and straight for once and stop this thing

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    Sweet cheeks

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • The letter says (Quote) “It seems wholly unreasonable to withhold your decision, whatever that decision may be, in the knowledge that the county council as a direct result is prejudiced financially by the delay." By the same standards, does it not seem "Wholly unreasonable" for NCC to withhold information, lie to the public about bankruptcy and generate scaremongering? Let's hope Mr. Pickles takes all the time he needs. NCC have put themselves in this position by not being upfront and honest so are in no position to winge.

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Gnobbs indicates in his letter that ncc does not consider the rumour that the delay is due to political motives so wants mr pickles to announce the decision to dispel the rumour! So if ncc doesnt believe political manouverings what possible reason would mr pickles have for not announcing a decision? Could be that the decision has not yet been made because of information submitted after the inspectors report was finalised. Could be that the legal beagles are examining the evidenced reasons for either consent or refusal because they know full well that whatever the decision there will be a legal challenge. Could be they are waiting for the new report, due in April, into the health impact of incineration on unborn babies. Surely there has to be a valid reason for the delay mr pickles would not just sit on it to annoy the council which appears to be the jist of gnobbs letter. Can you imagine what the project supporters would be saying if the antis were pressuring mr pickles to make his announcement?

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    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • I doubt the SOS will be impressed at all this whingeing coming from County Hall given their predicament is entirely self-inflicted. Who in their right mind would sign such a foolish contract before there is any guarantee of delivery? NCC is clearly not fit for purpose. Why not start listening to the people you are supposed to be serving instead?

    Report this comment

    Kadmos

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • This just demonstrates, once more, what a ridiculous mistake the current administration in County Hall made by refusing to pull the plug on the contract last October - as it was legally entitled to do - and pay the "reduced" compensation of £26m to CW. That would have given total certainty - which we lack at the moment - so that a much cheaper solution to the waste problem could be found. It would also have ended the risk that Eric Pickles might just grant planning permission, so saddling us all with a £600m bill over the next twenty five years. And that without the support of £169m from central government. It makes the current administration as guilty as the previous one, when it first entered into the contract. Whatever the ultimate result, there should surely one day be a public inquiry into all of this..

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • As for old Bev, how are relations with Talconstone P.C now?

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Build it now. Over 700,000 are in favour. Only 6 noisy nimby's against. Fact.

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    Not A Nimby

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Whatever the decision the consequences for Norfolk are dire! Consent means 669 million over next 23 years - the contract end 2040 regardless when the plant becomes operational- or 25.6 million compensation prior to 1st May or 33 million plus hedging adjustment from 1st May! Whatever happens council tax payers get a raw deal because officers and members failed to protect the public purse bulldozing a non viable project through planning for unknown reasons.

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    Canary Boy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • In writing “The absence of any clear reason or explanation for the delay” Gnobbs & co do come across as alarmingly ignorant on this whole situation. Along with everything that has taken place since the end of the inquiry, and the SoS is still considering any submissions sent in, why would anyone expect Mr Pickles to totally ignore the examination carried out by the National Audit Office on Defra’s oversight of the Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme, and another area of interest, who are still putting together a report on their findings? Are we to believe that after 5 months of Jackson’s whinging letters to Defra it was merely a coincidence that Norfolk’s PFI was pulled 2 days after NAO’s announcement? Unlike the QC’s investigations by NCC this report won’t have its feathers clipped by the Monitoring Officer.

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    Honest John

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • It is clear from the tone and content of the NCC letter to the SoS that they (NCC) fear that they are not going to win. The clues are..... ..the comment that Eric is acting 'unreasonably' ..the suggestion that he may be acting 'politically' and not just on planning grounds. These are positions that NCC wish to put in the public arena so that they can use them in a legal challenge if it comes to it. Best of luck NCC you will need a miracle to beat Eric when he does eventually consider ALL the facts and rule against you after all you lot have done!

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    Ironheart

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • I wonder how dear old Mike Jackson is doing since his move, given that he must have intimate knowledge of exactly what sort of pollution occurs when a flood comes rolling in? Maybe he can call on his chums at CW to lend a hand with their magical planning wand which immediately relocates everything nasty under the nearest doormat where it can't be seen?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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