The highly controversial proposal for an incinerator at King’s Lynn will not be debated by all 84 members of Norfolk County Council, after a motion calling for such a public discussion was defeated.

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And a demand for an independent investigation into the behaviour of county council leader Derrick Murphy and his cabinet colleagues in agreeing to award a contract for the Saddlebow incinerator was also lost.

The Liberal Democrat opposition at County Hall had put forward both the motions, but the Conservative group defeated them at a tense meeting yesterday.

The fiery meeting included personal attacks on councillors, allegations of bullying, accusations of smear attempts, claims of political posturing and complaints the democratic process was being eroded.

The Lib Dems say the upshot of the rejection of their motions is that only 10 members of the council - the Conservative controlled cabinet - have had a voice in the decision to build a £500m incinerator, while the public’s trust in the council has fallen.

But the Conservatives said the motions amounted to little more than political posturing by a party “desperate for votes”, that a recent High Court decision not to grant a judicial review into the process showed everything was above board and that the 2000 Local Government Act meant the final decision rested with the cabinet, not the full council.

They said the incinerator issue had been widely discussed by various committees over the past five years and prolonging the debate would merely put other companies off investing in Norfolk - because it would give the county a reputation as being difficult to deal with.

The call for a independent inquiry was put forward by Lib Dem leader Paul Morse, who said: “We are concerned this council’s reputation has been tarnished by the behaviour of some of its members.

“In particular we are concerned the council leader may have manipulated the constitutional process and abandoned respect for other councillors and the public, who are thus in danger of losing respect for his office and the council.”

He said the probe should explore whether the decision on March 7 last year to award the incinerator contract to Cory Wheelabrator had been predetermined at a Conservative group meeting three days earlier.

He questioned whether members of the cabinet scrutiny panel looking at the issue had been “whipped” and why some West Norfolk members of that committee were substituted and did not attend a meeting in April last year.

He said: “I don’t know the answers to those questions, but a public inquiry would provide them.”

Tony Adams, Conservative councillor for Drayton and Horsford, said the issue had been thoroughly discussed by a number of panels and committees.

With reference to the number of times Mr Murphy had been reported to the council’s standards committee, Mr Adams said his leader had “passionate” views and opinions, but was no bully.

The cabinet initially withdrew from the debate, after legal advice. Because the motion originally suggested they should quit if a probe found they had misled the public or councillors, officers said they should not take part because their cabinet allowances meant they had a prejudicial interest in the matter of remaining cabinet members.

But they returned after Mr Morse’s group agreed to ditch that section of the motion and an angry Mr Murphy accused Mr Morse of a “McCarthy-esque” and “repugnant” attack on him.

He called for Mr Morse to quit and said it was the Lib Dem leader who was damaging the democratic process.

Mr Morse’s Lib Dem colleague Tim East’s motion called for a full council debate on the incinerator, while recognising the final decision rested with the cabinet.

Mr East said: “This contract stands to be the most expensive, controversial and longstanding procurement this council has ever made.

“There are 84 of us here representing all of Norfolk and its people...yet only 10 of us have a voice in this decision.”

Conservative Roger Smith, who represents Henstead, said the constant “wittering” was damaging the chances of investors coming to Norfolk.
He said: “They will get the impression in Norfolk that we cannot make our minds up on anything.”

Although the motions garnered support from Labour and the Greens, the one for an independent inquiry was defeated by 59 votes against to 20 for, with three abstentions.

The one for a full council debate on incineration was lost by 56 votes against to 20 for and three abstentions.

The council is still waiting to hear whether environment secretary Caroline Spelman will release £169m worth of Private Finance Credits to fund the incinerator, which the county says will save millions of pounds a year by reducing landfill.

Mrs Spelman is with-holding the money until evidence of ‘broad consensus’ of support for the council’s waste strategy is provided.

While a number of district council leaders had written in support, West Norfolk Council and Norwich City Council have both written to state they are not in favour of incineration, which anti-incinerator campaigners hope will cause her not to release the funding.

The council’s planning committee will decide whether to grant planning permission for the plant.

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

44 comments

  • People concerned about the NDR, the development of thousands of homes, Quarry or Landfill sites, or Wymondham Asda need to open their eyes to what is happening. It does not matter what the project is the council should be open to any scrutiny and fully involve the community it is just not acceptable that a cabinet of 10 people, can decide to spend hundreds of millions of pounds of our money. There are 84 Councillors who should represent their communities, not follow a party political line or whim, it is time they all started to do exactly that. My Councillor certainly did not consider my wishes yesterday and in return Mrs Mickleburgh will not get my vote, or my husbands, in 2013.

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Footyboy16, when you are up to speed with everything that has been going on surrounding this incinerator, and waste disposal generally, then perhaps your comments will be less ignorant. Two options you say: bury or burn .....you seem to have been drinking from the same fountain of knowledge as CW and the NCC.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • 65,516 people voted No, against the Incinerater and NCC have totally ignored the wishes of the people of West Norfolk, and many more people across the rest of Norfolk.They accuse those who campaign against the Incinerater of (nimby)ism (Not In My Back Yard). Those Borough Councils which recently voted for the incinerater should "give ear" to the old saying, "Those who live in greenhouses should not throw stones" ! Was this a democratic vote? Yes!but not with a democratic result,never mind, what goes around comes around.We must remember it is no good being the richest person in the graveyard Costessey had the right approach they rejected it and the rest of Norfolk should follow. These faceless experts will not be happy until the country is flooded with Incineraters, Wind Farms, Solar Farms,High speed trains High speed broadband, et cetera (or the like;or something else similar). Progress? but they have not said in which direction; forward or backwards, it is not rocket science to work out the answer. Senior citizen (formerly South Lynn)

    Report this comment

    LFB

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • This is what is wrong with cabinet government at local level-the cabinet is making decisions on matters that are too important to be decided by a few. Why have a full vote on who should decide about the incinerator but not a full vote on the incinerator? Madness.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • Robotsthatcare, sorry on this string I did not make the issue clear. If you look at my posts on articles ref asda you will see I agree with Asda coming to Wymondham, my argument is with the site of King's Head Meadow. Wymondham desperately needs a reasonably priced supermarket it has done for years. People like my 82 year old Dad can't afford Waitrose prices and the co-op as a convenience store more than supermarket is also expensive.

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Norfolk and Good, Excellent idea Rockcliffe lives next door.

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    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • I think the conservatives are going to loose lots of votes next election time.

    Report this comment

    Marigold

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Marigold

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Footyboy16 what are you banging on about? 99% of rubbish DOESNT go into landfill - a proportion of it is recycled for starters. I'm not even going to waste the next 5 minutes typing a response to the rest of your posts because you haven't even got the basics right - get off your soapbox and come back when you've done some proper research into the issue before you start having a pop at folk. Ttch.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • There has been a full Council discussion on this. When the Cabinet finally wake up and realise this it will be just before they are forced to have a full public enquiry thrust upon them. And the hopeless Tory group that hang around the door of the cabinet making clever clever remarks like Councillor Smith in a vain endeavour to join this poisonous crew wont have anything to do with it. You cant get them to vote you out of trouble for ever Mr Murphy. Judgement day is approaching rapidly.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • If ever there was something needed in County Hall right now, it's an enema. Those 50 odd people voting are a disgrace to the County of Norfolk, the right thing for them all to do would be to resign, because they have lost touch with reality.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • By jove, I think I've got it! Since Broadland council think its a good idea to have an incinerator lets build it in Wroxham! Problem solved and Murphy gets his grubby hands on the PFI credits he would sell his soul for.

    Report this comment

    smithrob

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • alecto, I think it's more of a slur on the wider Conservative party to be honest - it must be gut-wrenching for various members of the cabinet to know that Tory Central Office see some of them as petty idiots with ideas above their station!

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    User Removed

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • What a surprise, another ineffectual LibDem motion has been defeated... by a resounding majority at that. Perhaps Paul Morse will learn his lesson this time and realise that playing politics rather than doing some real work might just be the reason that he's lost three councillors to the Conservatives in the last year. How many times are people not going to accept the argument that democratic expediency has been followed on this issue. The Local Government Act is very clear on decision-making and it lies in the hands of the Cabinet.

    Report this comment

    Peter J

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • Where is my post.

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    Jack

    Friday, January 20, 2012

  • Norfolk County Council have chosen the most corrupt company to deal with waste.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Friday, January 20, 2012

  • Fenscape, I don't think either of them are worth the effort, their articulate ability makes one wonder if Mr Localism Bill Borrett hasn't entered the ring.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • I am afraid to say 99% of these so called protesters haven't got a clue what actually goes on with this country's waste desposal, the current issue is that the locals to Kings Lynn do not want an incinerator on their doorstep because of the so called dangerous gas and smoke given off from burning THEIR RUBBISH, at present it all goes to landfill where it is dumped in large pits which are lined and seal in plastic and blue clay but they too still give off gases as well into the soil and air, I used to drive large skip lorries and dustcarts into Lnadfill sites so I have knowledge of this,so at the end of the day the protesters don't have a winning options because either option still has gases going into the air and by landfill it goes into the soil as well, and at the end of the day THEIR RUBBISH has to go somewhere.. burn or dump still has it pro's and con's..try walking onto a landfill site and breathing in the stench..

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • In some ways I am more concerned that Ms Spelman and Mr Pickles will come up with some scheme that is even more undemocratic.But at least it's not nuclear for energy, or is it? The long term effects of that are worse than incineration.

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Cleggie……wind in your poodles. They are ineffective.

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • smithrob, you took the words right out my mouth. Morphy & co are right to be terrified of any enquiry as the information that is now coming from other sources shows. And kettle 1 are you really suggesting we follow Ipswich? Suffolk also got a Jewell and is already regretting it.

    Report this comment

    Kenny Bunkport

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • Footyboy16, here are some basic facts. The Saddlebow incinerator is intended principally to take municipal solid waste (MSW), as contrasted with commercial waste produced by businesses. (The latter is not the responsibility of Norfolk County Council.) The estimated amount of MSW generated in Norfolk in 20102011 was 395k tonnes. But in the previous year, Norfolk’s recycling rate was 43.5% and so if that rate was maintained in 20102011 the amount of residual MSW actually going into landfill that year was about 220k tonnes. Norfolk has a poor recycling rate in comparison with other counties, but there is every indication that it will improve while we hope that reduction and re-use will also increase. As that happens, the amount of residual MSW should fall below 220k tonnes. It is then a question of what to do with it to avoid it having to go into landfill. Incineration is only one of a range of options, and it is a dated option that in other countries is now being rejected. In fact we are told that no waste incinerator has been built in the USA for fifteen years. All that the opponents of the Saddlebow incinerator are trying to do is to persuade Norfolk County Council to suspend this project and investigate the newer options set out in the Government’s Waste Review last year. It really is not a case of bury or burn.

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Well done Paul Morse and co for attempting to expose this very unhealthy situation - in all senses. The huge Tory majority brings to mind the old adage 'Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely;

    Report this comment

    Steve Gordon

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Seeing as most of the 'wittering' that Cllr Smith alluded to seems to come from his own majority party, he can join his colleagues in taking full credit for his spookily correct assumption that people around the UK think that Norfolk county council behave like a bunch of village idiots!

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • Smithrob, the answer is not to shove it somewhere else. Broadland’s leader wrote of his own back, certainly not representing the rest of the council, and what have the Wroxham people done to deserve your comment? It is not the PFI credits per se, it is the ability to sign the £20 million compensation clause, which would at least give the NCC pushers a potential payout. However, if they sign it while it is in the air like this, it’s looking possible that there will be some financial comeback on the NCC individuals. The same applies to you Norfolk and Good. Incdentally, Derrick Murphy not only lives in West Norfolk, but about 2 miles across fields from where the intended site is.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Cllr.Roger Smith would be the first to oppose an incinerator in his constituency or near the villages of Bramerton and Framinghasm Pigot, so why does he speak for incineration when he never has asked his constituents or was part of a lobbying campaign here in South Norfolk. Companies weould rather invest in a Norfolk with a healthy workforce and a modern resource recycling policy, than a backward rah, rah, raah lets just burn it all, solution from the last millenium. Just as SNDCllr.John Fullers letter to Ms. Spelmann was without any mandate from voters, Cllr Smith threats of non investing company during a recession was bluster. cllrs. new full well what we would say, because we made our preferences for recycling reuse and reduction of waste known, twice, so they did not ask us again, just bullied ahead with their mass burner.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • suffolk is having an incinerator built to get rid of its rubbish . why should nofrolk not have one ????

    Report this comment

    kettle1

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • Footyboy16, when you are up to speed with everything that has been going on surrounding this incinerator, and waste disposal generally, then perhaps your comments will be less ignorant. Two options you say: bury or burn .....you seem to have been drinking from the same fountain of knowledge as CW and the NCC.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Fenscape, you take that back immediately. We have some lovely idiots in our village and not one of them is a Tory politician. What an awful slur on village idiots.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • the tories are useless just look at their dithering and bully boy tactics over holts car park

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • A lot of whinging old NIMBY stuff on here. The point is, if we need an incinerator, which we clearly do, then where better to put it than King's Lynn? An eyesore in King's Lynn is akin to trying to find a needle in an enormous pile of needles. As a county we need to preserve the beauty of the Broads and Norwich. King's Lynn it is then.

    Report this comment

    Valpy Word

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • I am sitting here reading all about this issue and it amazes me how many thick people there are, at present 99% of everyday rubbish goes to landfill and dumped in large pits which are then sealed with plastic and clay etc but still give off gases into the atmosphere and into the soil, so there will be no difference hardly but burning it in an incinerator, local protesters are against the incinerator option of burning THEIR RUBBISH,but try walking onto a Landfill site and breathing in the stench which resides at any landfill site which drifts across neighbouring land. lovely smell which goes up into the atmosphere, so you have 2 options bury or burn,and theres hardly any difference and at the end of the day the rubbish has to go somewhere. at the end of the day landfill sites will get full and new sites will be needed,and in the end you will run out of sites to bury rubbish.

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Perhaps the council have realised that KL is overun by Foreign Nationals and illegal immigrants......maybe the best solution then!!!

    Report this comment

    dave123

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • I hope everyone understands that the motions yesterday were not about incineration, they were about the behaviour of cabinet members and officers over the procurement process and award of a contract. The Cabinet and a handful of officers have forced through a contract REGARDLESS OF WHAT THAT CONTRACT IS that will cost the Norfolk taxpayer £500 million and the UK taxpayer £169 million!! These people think they are unaccountable to anyone, they are not! The cabinet and the Conservative Group Councillors, who dare not speak their mind for fear of removal from lucrative committee's, are accountable to each and every member of the public who put them into power. The officers, if an investigation finds they have failed in their duties, are accountable to the Chief Exec. Why are the conservative group so afraid of letting either an external investigation take place or put the whole matter before full council?

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Norfolk County Council have chosen the most corrupt company to deal with waste.

    Report this comment

    Jack

    Friday, January 20, 2012

  • smithrob is spot on - build the Tory Wheelabrator incinerator at Wroxham. Or better still, does anyone know where our glorious leader, Kim Il Murphy lives? As he's so keen on incinerators, build it in the field next to his house!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Good

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Joy, you've weakened your argument. I think you'll find that most residents of Wymondham want an Asda to be built

    Report this comment

    robotsthatcare

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • The resistance towards public scrutiny, accountability and democracy smacks so loudly of corruption and back-handers as to be deafening.

    Report this comment

    Carborundum

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • Mr Murphy, just what are you trying to hide? Why are you afraid of the full facts being aired? Incompetant or just plain deceitful, you tell us

    Report this comment

    smithrob

    Monday, January 16, 2012

  • Burn or bury you will still have the same outcome ie gases and smells, but who cares ? only the people of KL and that doesn't count for nothing !!!! so get over yourselves, cos you are going to have one or the other !! LOL..

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Oh dear Valpy - how are the majority of the visitors to Norwich and The Broads going to come into the county? Via teleport? Or past a giant eyesore? And as for both you and Footyboy16, you might think the west of the county is a dump already but your comments prove that a lack of intelligence and decent debate can occour anywhere - perhaps you should go troll somewhere else?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

  • Everyone seen the latest stunt? The so called consultation is a load of the same old rubbish but this time to pledge your support you can send an email or phone a freephone number. Thing is there will be a flood of calls and emails from Wheelabrator US shareholders and all their mates the world over. Democracy Norfolk Style!! At least it will give Archant profits a boost for the advertisement costs!

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Fenscape, I don't think either of them are worth the effort, their articulate ability makes one wonder if Mr Localism Bill Borrett hasn't entered the ring.

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

  • Two messages deleted shows that the EDP is even censoring this volumne of posts. The type of waste to be dealt with in this primitive manner is actually not strictly regulated. There is nothing to stop the operators to accept liquid hazardous waste or co treat hazardous waste with household waste. The self regulatory framework that guides incineration does not speak of fines or stopping of processing at all, I doubt DEFRA has contingencies or manpower for emergencies at all. Cllr. Smith must think that companies value pollution of the countryside as much as the Conservative Party, because he has never asked anybody, just as Cllr. Fuller has had no mandate for hi letter. Modern companies value recycling and low CO2 practises, they do not want their rubbish burned, a preposterous unfounded allegation.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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