October 23 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, March 15, 2014
The company behind Norfolk’s controversial incinerator said funding was still in place, despite the withdrawal of one of its bankers.
LLoyds Bank, which was one of the main backers of the proposed incinerator near King’s Lynn, has withdrawn from the project.
But a spokesman for Cory Wheelabrator, which has signed a contract with Norfolk County Council to build and run the plant at Saddlebow, said: “Lloyds Bank has transferred its lending commitment to another financial institution and we’re happy to confirm that funding is still in place for this important project.”
Mike Knights, from Fair Green, near King’s Lynn, raised concerns with Lloyds Bank about the project, and the bank’s Chris Sood-Nicholls said in a letter to him: “After careful consideration, Lloyds Bank has recently agreed to transfer its lending commitment to another financial institution and will no longer be playing an active role in financing the project.”
Mr Knights said: “I think the incinerator is increasingly seen as a ‘toxic investment’, to be ‘off-loaded’ and not worth risking a bank’s reputation over.”
The news has been welcomed by North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, who said it was “potentially of huge significance”.
He said: “Lloyds Bank was the lead financial institution supporting the project. We don’t know who Lloyds has transferred its loan to, or why it pulled out - maybe they could see the writing on the wall. It’s been made clear to them by many people, including myself, that if its role in the project was made clear, there was the threat of a consumer boycott.”
A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “Any questions about financing for the scheme should really be directed to the consortium behind the project but we note that Lloyds says in its letter that it has “agreed to transfer its lending commitment to another financial institution”.”
The Communities secretary Eric Pickles had been due to make a decision on the King’s Lynn incinerator on January 14, but two months on and he has yet to make an announcement.
• What’s your view on the incinerator saga? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.