Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has called in the controversial King’s Lynn incinerator, it emerged today.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The process of a public inquiry

Each public inquiry will have its own process but they follow certain rules and will start with a pre-inquiry meeting.

This meeting is held to discuss arrangements for the inquiry and how things will run. It will establish who will be giving evidence, how long it will take and whether there will be any witnesses.

Before the inquiry is held, the minister in charge will also provide a statement of matters which asks the official in charge of the inquiry to make sure that certain matters are examined and reported on.

Most inquiries begin with the applicant who requested the inquiry giving evidence first and when it ends, the official in charge presents their conclusions and recommendations to the minister in charge.

However, there is no deadline on how long the process takes.

Costs of public inquiries vary but a recent inquiry into the building of a waste incinerator in Shropshire cost more than £900,000.

That means there will be a public inquiry into the scheme, before a decision is taken by an independent planning inspector over whether it should go ahead.

In a letter to Norfolk County Council’s principal planner Nick Palmer, released to the EDP this afternoon, an official in Mr Pickles’s department writes: “The Secretary of State’s policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications. He will, in general, only take this step if planning issues of more than local importance are involved.

“Having regard to this policy, the Secretary of State is of the opinion that the application is one he ought to decide himself because he considers that the proposal concerns matters that are of substantial regional and national controversy.

“The Secretary of State accordingly directs that the application shall be referred to him instead of being dealt with by the local planning authority.”

Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for planning and transportation said:

“This can only be a helpful step in reassuring local people about what is a very significant matter for Norfolk.

“We are confident that the application meets all planning policy requirements, that the recommendation made by our planners was correct and that the decision taken by the planning committee was the right one, given national and local planning guidelines.

“The Secretary of State will now have the final decision and as people will be aware, we made it clear in a letter to him as far back as May 2011 that the county council would provide every assistance should he decide to call in the application, and of course, we will now be glad to do so.”

Bill Borrett, the county council’s cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “I welcome this decision, I have always maintained this process should be done by the book.

“I note the Secretary of State is particularly looking for further information about how Cory Wheelabrator’s planning application fits with some key policy frameworks. The forthcoming inquiry will test all these aspects and the final decision now rests with him.

“Today’s announcement can only bring further peace of mind to those looking for even more reassurance.”

But West Norfolk council leader Nick Daubney said: “We welcome this announcement. Over 65,000 people voted against this proposal, only to have their views ignored by Norfolk County Council.

“We have campaigned long and hard for this call in so that the decision on the incinerator would be taken in a fair and transparent way.

“Today’s announcement means that everybody’s concerns will now be heard by an independent planning inspector at a full public inquiry.”

Norfolk MPs learned of the move earlier this afternoon, when they were called by Bob Neill, the under secretary of state for Communities and Local Government.

Mr Neill told them one reason for the decision was the record amount of correspondence his department had received.

“I gather the Department for Communities and local Government has had nearly 6,000 letters. That’s almost a record, if not the record,” said North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham.

Mr Bellingham said a public inquiry would be held next year into the incinerator scheme.

“It doesn’t mean we’re going to win but it does mean we’re going to get a fair hearing,” he said. “Everyone will get the chance to have their say and put their case.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss told edp24: “I’m delighted that the government has made this decision. It’s the right decision. It’s an issue people are very, very concerned about in West Norfolk.”

Norman Lamb said: “Simon Wright and I made the first request from MPs for this to be called in and then all the Norfolk MPs joined together with a request that Henry Bellingham put together.

“It’s a significant development and I welcome it, having made the request, because I felt all along that it was justified.

“When county council is responsible for development and determining planning applications and when public opinion is so hostile to it, it just deserves an independent review.”

Anti-incinerator campaigner Mike Knights said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s fantastic news.

“It’s clear the county council were pre-determined in their decision. It was so obvious during their own planning meeting that they were going to approve it.

“By having a proper public inquiry, all the arguments we have been making will finally get heard and it’s about time to.

“There is lots of work to be done now but when you know at last someone impartial is going to consider what is submitted to them it makes it worthwhile.”

Environmental management consultant Richard Burton said: “It shows the evidence we have provided to central Government is sufficient to cast doubt on what Norfolk County Council has been saying.

“I hope it will be a two week hearing and we can go along and win this.

“This decision justifies what the campaign has done all along and a planning inquiry will put everything out into the open.”

More than 65,000 people voted against the incinerator in a poll organised by West Norfolk council, which opposed the plant.

But Norfolk County Council signed a contract to build and operate the £500m incinerator at Saddlebow, near King’s Lynn with Anglo-US consortium Cory Wheelabrator, which included a £20m penalty clause.

Norfolk County County voted to give the plant planning permission at a stormy meeting in June. But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles issued a holding notice the night before, meaning that the county council decision would be put on hold until he had decided whether to call in the application.

33 comments

  • Welcome news for those of us who have been campaigning against the democratic deficit here in Norfolk. Let's hope that the Public Inquiry is not a sham as the Examination in Public of the Joint Core Strategy was where the GNDP totally ignored warnings about the legal flaws in the strategy and carried on ignoring the wishes of the electorate. We have another public inquiry soon on the Postwick Hub and then another one on the so called changes to the JCS to make it legal. The cost of all this is being born by the public purse because elected members ignored the wishes of the public. Ironic that the taxpayer ends up paying twice! Bring on the County Council elections next May when Independents will win a lot of seats.

    Report this comment

    SNUB

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Bill Borrett maintained he said it should always be done by the book, when was that going to start to happen? I am waiting for a comment from teflon Murphy who only ever wanted what was best for Kings Lynn and the rest of Norfolk! Thank you Mr Pickles at least the people will have a chance to be heard

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Funny thing is, you're treating Pickles like he's the hero for Kings Lynn. What are you gonna do when he comes back and says "I see no problem with the incinerator project, carry on". Well, let me guess, you'll all suddenly hate him then try to take him to court like you did Spelman. Idiotic nimby's

    Report this comment

    christoph

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

  • I am pretty sure that I recall Cllr Bill "Foxhunter" Borrett saying in the past that if the Secretary of State though it appropriate to call in the planning application NCC would, naturally, cooperate fully in the process to help ensure that the right decision was made! Now he will probably add that this is an entirely normal step and it was anticipated all along by NCC and Cory Wheelabrator. Role on next May.

    Report this comment

    Nemesis

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Excellent news, I am surprised that Borrett has not already told us how they were expecting it! Puts a rather large spanner in the works for the predicted start of construction in October don't you think?

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Forced, Daisy Roots? By who? Cory Wheelabrator? So you’re another one who still believes in the old chestnut that it’s either landfill or incineration? Will be forced to look “where a large percentage of the population is too dense to object or has English as a second language” – that’s what you all thought about West Norfolk, so now you’ve added wealthy. This has nothing to do with Nimbyism, incineration is the wrong way of approaching waste anywhere, and you’re conveniently forgetting 63% of Norfolk’s Parish Councils objected. Rest assured, the Campaigners of West Norfolk will not sit back and watch any other part of Norfolk be subjected to what we have gone through, if Eric Pickles is ‘just going through the motions’ as some suggest, then we move on to Plan B. There won’t be an incinerator in Norfolk, and the sooner Jackson, Boldon et al realise that, the sooner they will stop wasting taxpayer’s money. I hope the voters across Norfolk read your post and then they’ll realise just how important the changes are needed in next May’s elections, thank you for drawing this to their attention.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • This 'inquiry' is a public relations exercise and a total waste of time and money. It is unfair to extend the pain of the campaigners in this way.

    Report this comment

    Dickens

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Daisy Roots you are wrong, these things should not be built full stop, they are out of date and not the answer. I think Nick Daubany and his CabinetCouncillors have done a good job and they didn't just roll over like county did. He wanted things to be fair and at last this will happen, I will vote for him next time around but be damned if I will vote for any County Councillor who supported it.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • The anti campaign missed just about every trick in the book early on and have played all their hands by falling into the trap of rule following. Those rules exist to favour the council and government - not the other way around. They tripped over every wire - and fell flat. Now they have pushed for an ‘inquiry’. Good luck with that one. Talk about smacked with a wet kipper. When will these people wake up ? They missed the only chance during the elections. It is over.

    Report this comment

    Dickens

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Wheelabrator in trouble again at Saugus America, because it stinks when the weather is hot and has done for the past 25 years. Roll on election day time to kick out the tories that ignored 65.516 people who said they did not want a stinking waste incinerator. Henry Bellingham is right stop trying to flog a dead horse. We will not sit back a allow our children to breath in this filth. Who would vote tory now after this betrayal.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

  • Alan, I think your optimism here may be misplaced. If you read carefully what the HPA were quoted as saying over their impending report, it was to finally show incinerators were safe and confirm what they had been saying all along. Their wording at the time was quite revealing as to the outcome. It was as transparent as the planning and the permit. MBT only reduces waste by around 50%, that is why the one at Waterbeach intends to supply the incinerator with RDF - bucks all round. Surely AD with composting is a much better alternative? Eric likes AD too.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • A victory for peaceful,democratic protest.£20 million of our money and a few political careers are now up in the air in what is an inquiry with very high stakes.Those seeking a vote of no-confidence in the political leadership at County Hall must now have an added spring in their step.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • I hope that this illustration may be helpful. In March 2009, the Secretary of State called in a planning application by Veolia for the construction of a waste incinerator at the former Rufford Colliery site in Rainworth, Nottinghamshire. In October 2010, the public local inquiry ended. In March 2011, the inspector submitted a 275-page report to the Secretary of State with his recommendations. In May 2011, the Secretary of State refused planning permission. The whole procedure took twenty-six months.

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • No smarmy self-serving comments from Cllr Borrett as yet? Usually he's the first to be trilling from the treetops......

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • @Sweet cheeks - totally agree about Borrett. He was pacing the floor outside that meeting at NCC in June and heard the disgraceful way in which it was conducted - 'by the book' my eye!

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Dear Eric, Please ensure that the application complies fully with European Landfill Directives and that like Scotland no recyclable material will be incinerated, starting in 2014. Or will you let Scotland (another part of Europe) show you up?

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • He hasn't been told what to say yet Fenscape, the usual crock won't quite cut the mustard, but he'll stick to it anyway. Thank you Eric, top man!

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • All I can say is well done Mr. Pickles !

    Report this comment

    depressed Norfolk

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • The conduct of cllr.s and all other hand raisers will now get some scrutiny. The report over Cllr.. Murphy's disgraceful use of junior staff should be examined and the findings published. This public inquiry is a self preservation exercise that should not fool us. The party politics that is deliberately using their power to bully and override any public concerns will only bend slightly. Vote them out and elect your local Independents.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Dear Eric, Please ensure that the application complies fully with European Landfill Directives and that like Scotland no recyclable material will be incinerated, starting in 2014. Or will you let Scotland (another part of Europe) show you up?

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Well Dickens I find your comments interesting you sound like a NCC man, I think the call in will bring a bit of the county under handedness out in the open. If there planning meeting was anything to go by I think several people will have red faces. The other thing to remember is that it could take years not months to sort this out and then it may not be viable to build it. There will be some very powerful information at this hearing and County will not be able to cover it up this time

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • The length of the contract is the most worrying aspect. Recycling has orbited in the last 25 years, a great step for mankind. Perhaps a 10 year flexible contract would give room for manouevre, to allow for scientific knowledge about climate change to permeate down to us. 10 years might be costlier, but it's not all about money.

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Friday, August 31, 2012

  • Would Mr Palmer and Mr Jackson like to comment on why, when recommending this be passed, they overlooked all the “matters that are of substantial regional and national controversy” that we all pointed out in our objections, that Mr Pickles managed to spot? All those on the planning committee who voted for it should step down now, they are clearly not up to scratch for the job either. Thank you for listening Mr Pickles.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • When I stop screaming and running round the room I shall open a bottle of champagne. Not a magnum you understand, that's for when the call in is successful. The campaigners must be so happy! Still going to get rid of that horrible lot next May.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • And the cost will be picked up by...? look forward to hike in taxes people.

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, August 31, 2012

  • Yup and watch democracy being undermined as a decision by the elected County Council is overturned in the name of promoting localism. Then watch all concern from vociferous West Norfolk protesters- supposedly based on opposition to incinerators on principle because of alleged dangers- evaporate completely when a new site is chosen. Pretty obvious where NCC will be forced to look next-most likely where a large percentage of the population is too dense to object or has English as a second language and where there are no wealthy backers for a no campaign-either Thetford or Yarmouth. Then it will be obvious that the King's Lynn campaign has been based on Daubney's self protection and Nimbyism all along with scant regard for how NCC is meant to comply with EU regulations for waste disposal and landfill with existing facilities.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Wonderful News PEOPLE POWER we elect them to act for us, The NCC cabinet like the previous GYBC cabinet thought we elected them for them to ignore our wishes. Now all we want is a Public Inquiry into the outer harbour decisions that have lost the £18 m Grant and gifted our River Port and unelected officers provided the white elephant we have today

    Report this comment

    John L Cooper

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Wonderful News PEOPLE POWER we elect them to act for us, The NCC cabinet like the previous GYBC cabinet thought we elected them for them to ignore our wishes. Now all we want is a Public Inquiry into the outer harbour decisions that have lost the £18 m Grant and gifted our River Port and unelected officers provided the white elephant we have today

    Report this comment

    John L Cooper

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • NCC must be kicking themselves. If it were called in at the inception of the planning consultation I expect the public would have trusted the independent planning inspector and not many people would have written in. Problem now for NCC and Tory Wheelabrator is the report from the Imperial College London over birth defects downwind of incinerators will be out before the results of the call in. I expect their findings will impose hefty restrictions on incinerator operators and will be passed on to the public with hefty council tax bills. Many EU countries that were pro incinerator have now seen the error of their ways and rejecting incinerators. Now is the time for Norfolk to initiate plan MBT.

    Report this comment

    Alan Allan

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE - so this is why Norfolk County Council are buying the old Coltishall air base. It is their new site for the Tory Wheelabrator and once they own the site it will be ideally placed as it's much closer to the source of generation of most of Norfolk's waste. And there won't be any objections from either Broadland or North Norfolk District Councils as they've already voiced their public support of this type of incineration!

    Report this comment

    Wisbech, CAPITAL of the Fens

    Friday, August 31, 2012

  • Sorry! Twenty six months.

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Oh dear Dickens! Time to go home and bury your head in the sand I think!

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Wonderful News PEOPLE POWER we elect them to act for us, The NCC cabinet like the previous GYBC cabinet thought we elected them for them to ignore our wishes. Now all we want is a Public Inquiry into the outer harbour decisions that have lost the £18 m Grant and gifted our River Port and unelected officers provided the white elephant we have today

    Report this comment

    John L Cooper

    Thursday, August 30, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 8°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT