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Norfolk County Council leader tells Eric Pickles he is “alarmed and disappointed” by incinerator delay

PUBLISHED: 13:03 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:51 13 January 2014

County councillor George Nobbs, concerned about anti social behavious in Norwich's landmark Millennium Library at The Forum; Photo: Bill Smith; Copy: Shaun Lowthorpe; For: EDP; Archant © 2008; 01603 772434

County councillor George Nobbs, concerned about anti social behavious in Norwich's landmark Millennium Library at The Forum; Photo: Bill Smith; Copy: Shaun Lowthorpe; For: EDP; Archant © 2008; 01603 772434

Archant © 2008

Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs has written to Eric Pickles telling him that the delay to a decision about whether to give the King’s Lynn incinerator the green light presents the council with “very real and immediate difficulties”.

He has told the communities secretary, who has the ultimate say in whether to uphold planning permission, that he is “alarmed and disappointed” by the revelation in the EDP on Saturday, that it will be more than a few weeks before the decision is made.

George Nobbs’ letter to Eric Pickles

The decision was due tomorrow, but Mr Pickles is said to still be weighing up the “complex” report, which was submitted to him by a planning inspector in the autumn, following an inquiry last spring.

Mr Nobbs told Mr Pickles that the council may, or may not, need to factor in a compensation payment of between £26m and £31m if the incinerator is not given planning permission.

He added that he hoped Mr Pickles would feel in a position to make his decision soon.

“To date, we have not assumed any extra income from council tax, because that is not something that we want to do. However we certainly do want to avoid any further service cuts for Norfolk people if we can possibly do so. But the simple fact is that until we know for certain what scenario we have to plan for, we have no choices but to assume the worst.”

The planning application was “called in” by the government in August 2012 after a record number of people wrote in. An inquiry was held last spring and the report of the inspector, who headed the probe, reached Mr Pickles desk in the Autumn.

The government cancelled the waste credits, which would have been worth £169m to run the plant, in October.

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