March 1 2015 Latest news:
Martin George and Annabelle Dickson
Saturday, March 29, 2014
MPs from across Norfolk have called for councillors to “bite the bullet” and pull away from controversial plans for an incinerator which have cast a shadow across the county.
Norfolk County Council will hold an extraordinary meeting on April 7 which could see councillors vote to tear up the contract for the proposed King’s Lynn burner. A previous meeting last October backed it by a wafer-thin two-vote majority.
Last night’s plea from the MPs echoed the EDP’s call last autumn to cancel the project.
The council is due to publish the documents which councillors will use to make their decision on Monday, but in contrast to previous announcements supporting the incinerator, a Norfolk County Council spokesman last night issued a short statement saying speculation about the outcome of the meeting was “unhelpful”.
Council officers have said the possible compensation payable if planning permission is not secured by May 1 would increase by £5m, from £26m to £31m. North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said councillors had been scaremongering about the impact on the council’s finances, and it had put aside £18m to allow for a compensation payment.
He said: “The key point to bear in mind is that in the long run it is going to cost much, more money. It is the most expensive solution to treating Norfolk’s waste.”
He said communities secretary Eric Pickles might not make a decision on ratifying planning permission for the incinerator for many months, and it was “a no-brainer” the council should not wait for him to make a decision.
“Norfolk council tax payers need to know where they stand,” he added. “The vote in the council is on April 7 and there is a chance now to bite the bullet.”
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “Let’s take the opportunity to end this saga and move towards a more positive future for waste collection.”
Norwich South MP Simon Wright said: “The people living in the part of Norfolk that would be affected by this voted decisively in a referendum in opposition to the proposal and I think if we believe in localism we really have to take that on board.”
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: “My view remains the same that they should get out of it.”
Bill Borrett, who leads the Conservative opposition on the council and voted for the incinerator, said he was waiting to read the papers but had yet to see anything to change his mind.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “The council and cabinet meetings on April 7 are the proper places for discussion of the issues. Members will have an opportunity for full debate before cabinet decides on the way forward.
“Speculation on the outcome of those discussions is unhelpful at this stage.”
The EDP says that speculation may or may not be unhelpful, but what matters now is the outcome. It is high time to end this hugely-damaging saga and reject the incinerator.
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