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By DAN GRIMMER
Public affairs correspondent
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The leader of the opposition at Norwich City Council has written to the environment secretary urging her to stand firm and not release the government money which would enable an incinerator to be built at King’s Lynn.
Cabinet minister Caroline Spelman revealed in November that she would be withholding £169m of Private Finance Initiative credits which Norfolk County Council wants to go towards the £500m cost of the incinerator at Saddlebow.
She told County Hall she wanted to see more evidence of “broad support” for the county’s proposed waste strategy, and that led to leaders of some of the councils signed up to the Norfolk Waste Partnership sending letters to Ms Spelman.
The leaders say they back the Joint Municipal Waste Strategy, which includes the incinerator plan, and call for Ms Spelman to make the PFI credits available.
Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur did not send a letter to Ms Spelman in support, while Nick Daubney, leader of West Norfolk Council, which held a poll in which 65,000 people said they did not want the plant, sent his own urging Ms Spelman not to be swayed by the letters from district leaders.
And he has been supported by Claire Stephenson, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council, who has re-sent a letter to Caroline Spelman she originally sent in the summer.
She said, in a note accompanying the resent letter: “I understand that leaders of some district councils in Norfolk have recently written to you in support of this incinerator, and I would, therefore, like to emphasise that thousands of people in Norfolk do not support the plans to build it.”
Miss Stephenson said: “As the Leader of the Opposition on Norwich City Council, I can testify that there is a large amount of opposition to this incinerator, in the city of Norwich, and throughout the county.”
She said in 2007, the city council has passed a motion confirming ‘its opposition to any form of incineration of Norfolk’s waste and pressing ahead with one now would take the county in the wrong direction.
The county council, however, maintains the incinerator is needed as an alternative to landfill and would save millions of pounds a year.
On Friday, County Hall officers will ask members of Norfolk County Council’s planning regulatory committee to agree to visit the Saddlebow site on a “fact finding” visit, ahead of their future decision on whether to award planning permission for the plant.