Norfolk MPs urged to help get government cash to stop incinerator compensation bill hitting services

An artist's impression of Cory Wheelabrator's proposed incinerator. The county council has terminated its contract with the company. An artist's impression of Cory Wheelabrator's proposed incinerator. The county council has terminated its contract with the company.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
3:02 PM

Norfolk’s MPs have been urged by the leader of Norfolk County Council to get the government to help cover the multi-million compensation bill which will be created by axing the incinerator.

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George Nobbs, Labour leader of the council has written to North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss to ask that they will take action to stave off further “painful cuts” to services.

Mr Bellingham had previously said he would mobilise the county’s MPs to seek help, if the county council were to make a formal request.

And Mr Nobbs has now done so, sending a copy of his letter to Mr Bellingham and Ms Trusst to other MPs in the county. He urges them to convince the government to part with a grant to cover the £30m compensation cost the authority is likely to have to pay Cory Wheelabrator for terminating the contract for the Saddlebow burner.
Mr Nobbs write to the MPs: “Over the course of this saga, you have suggested on a number of occasions that the government may help to mitigate the financial impact of a contract termination on Norfolk’s public services.

“I am now asking formally, on behalf of the people of Norfolk, that you make the necessary contacts at government to make this a reality.

“I have copied in to this letter all Norfolk’s MPs who may, I hope, be willing to act in concert with you on this matter to secure additional funding that may avoid the authority having to make further painful cuts to front line services.

“We ask that support should come in the form of a grant - not borrowing approval - given that the authority is already facing significant reductions in revenue income.
“Adding to the burden of debt for future generations should not be an option in these very difficult circumstances.”

Mr Nobbs, who has previously accused MPs of lobbying the government to get the waste credits for the plant cancelled, added that: “It is a matter of fact that the removal of a government grant worth £169m for the Saddlebow project and the continuing delaying in determining the planning application has resulted in the project’s value for money, compared to the costs of landfill, declining to the point where we have had no real choice but to make the decision we made.”

Councillors voted by 48 votes to 30 to terminate the contract at an extraordinary meeting yesterday – a decision which was then rubber stamped by the controlling Labour/Liberal Democrat cabinet.

The council will now have to make £8m worth of further savings to cover the likely £30m compensation cost to Cory Wheelabrator, having set aside £19m in its budget and finding £3m from underspends.

The £30m compensation bill consists of capped compensation to Cory Wheelabrator of £20.3m, contractor public inquiry costs of £1.6m and exchange rate and interest rate related costs of £8.36m.

The council had already spent £3.5m procuring the contract and £2m to buy the site at Saddlebow. That means taxpayers will pay £35m in total with only a derelict site to show for it.

Council officers are now drawing up proposals for where the £8m of extra savings could be made and will report to the cabinet when it meets on May 12.

In his letter to the MPs, Mr Nobbs said: “Time is short. I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of some urgency, of what, if any assistance can be secured.”

19 comments

  • Very good point Jennifer Jane

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • Nothing in the EDP today of Derek Murphy's climbdown on TV last night, that he was rushed to make a decision by officers, that he agrees that the project was never value for money, although that was not what he said at the time on the 7March 2011 in the Edwards room.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • Perhaps the Officers and Councillors who tried so hard to 'force' this mass burn incinerator on the community, should be made to dip into their very deep personal pockets and provide a serious amount of compensation for all the grief they have caused. Why should the Norfolk tax-payers have to foot the bill? They were not responsible for mis-management of the accounts. Also, EDP could you please remove the picture of the offending monstrosity from your editorials - let's have the green field back please and fill it with palm leaves! (victory & success). Thanks.

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • At last a bit of humble pie from the leader. I hope as many people as can will write to their MP asking for financial help. After all, we are all in this together !!!

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • first Mr Nobbs got elected on the manifesto commitment to do all in his power to bin the burner... then did a U turn on that once in office: now he is asking Bellingham among others to hold out the begging bowl to government... after he scornfully dismissed any such idea when Bellingham suggested it! Gnobbs is the King of the U turns. would anyone buy a used car from this bloke? he is 'leader' BY DEFAULT of the council, having won the support of a breathtaking 1061 souls - less than half of the 29.55% of the electorate in his manor - on a false promise... and leads a group of a dozen Labourites most of whom now wouldn't give him the time of day. and this is local democracy? one wonders why the EU has gone ahead with letting Norfolk County Council 'manage' 350 million euros on behalf of the Interreg programme: surely Norfolk is now the laughing stock of the country, thanks to first the Tories' and now Labour's abysmal record of governance at County Hall. both Borrett and Gnobbs should fall on their swords

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • Could I just point out it is not government money it is our money paid in taxes. I guess it would be better for the nation to contribute rather than just the council tax payers of Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • Perhaps the Officers and Councillors who tried so hard to 'force' this mass burn incinerator on the community, should be made to dip into their very deep personal pockets and provide a serious amount of compensation for all the grief they have caused. Why should the Norfolk tax-payers have to foot the bill? They were not responsible for mis-management of the accounts. Also, EDP could you please remove the picture of the offending monstrosity from your editorials - let's have the green field back please and fill it with palm leaves! (victory & success). Thanks.

    Report this comment

    Sandy.L

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • Why would the Tory party help their opposition? It was their councillors who pushed officers to draw up the contract, they voted for it, it was their ministers who dragged their feet on the matter, and those MPs who are now against it after silence for such a long time.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • Please remember that the blame for this is with the Tory administration who signed the original contract, not the present bunch, who have had to extricate the Council from the mess left to them.

    Report this comment

    pablo

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

  • How about the morons who so happily signed this agreement on our behalf & without our support being told to foot the bill??

    Report this comment

    el84

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • There you go - just as I predicted last week! Good old George, what a trooper; handy with the soundbite but also happy to bend over the table and take one for the team when the chips are down.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • What I would like to know is when is this council going to stop playing footloose and fancy free with the Norfolk taxpayers money? It has been disaster after disaster, £Millions being wasted on so many failed projects, properties they owned being sold off for a song and so it carries on with Coltishall and this ridiculous dead end NDR, I'm afraid there are too many with vested interests and in my mind that makes this sad council just unfit for purpose in my opinion.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • I do not know how GNobbs can expect anything from Govt after his ongoing attack on Mr Pickles yesterday. I, among others, are grateful for the result however am critical of the constant referral to the fact that Pickles is to blame. The blame game should be firmly placed on the shoulders of those who signed the Contract in the first place and second on those, including GNobbs who could have dumped this incinerator back in October or even at the time when the PFI was withdrawn. The Timmins report was a red herring to give the go- ahead to keeping the incinerator company on board. The facts were such at that stage that any 'joe bloggs' would know that you don't sign a contract without some safeguards built in for the other party. This was completely ignored in the 'onesided' agreement drawn up by the Murphy administration- was there any great opposition then from the Labour members? In fact only recently Harrison and Castle now both Cabinet members were singing its praises at the October Council meeting. Yesterday showed to the general public just who we have running our council. GNobbs was hoping that the glow of success will help him through the next leadership contest, I think not. The Tories yesterday also showed a considerable lack of intelligence particularly Cllr Somerville who is probably in competition with Spratt, Borrett and Jordan for sheer ignorance. It needs to be pointed out to such as these that little knowledge is a dangerous thin. However, the clown of all clowns badge must go to bully Monson who swaggers around with not an ounce of grey matter between his ears. Yes the anti incinerator group were sneered upon yesterday but by whom? Certainly not by anyone who had half a brain. Just remember councillors that the group of protestors worked tirelessly bringing together highly qualified experts, lawyers, accountants and researchers all unpaid and all giving freely of their time and it was a struggle to get the message across at times because most councillors did not have the brains to understand or the ability to listen to anything except the jingle of money in their pockets.

    Report this comment

    maryjane

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • thanks to the succinct points made here, its crystallisingly clear that it is party politics and the whipping of elected representatives who dare stand their ground which is the culprit. Those who are demanding to stick with the cabinet system are asking for more of the same, a more open committee system is the only way to provide trust and support in NCC again. That is, after we considered certain positions and reviewd some responsibilities. We are paying, as jennifer so aptly said, and we can also stop paying, or withdraw OUR waste and give it to private recyclers, if this episode has not been enough of a game changer.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • As a council tax payer and tax payer I guess I will pay either way. But does it not seem morally wrong for a council to expect their every wrong decision to be bailed out by central government? Heads have to roll on this and not with a reward for failure payment. There also seems enough grounds to suspect that the decision to cancel this flawed contract will save money in the medium to long term. Will money saved be given to central government? It seems to me that based on some of the savings identified in the latest round of cuts, there may well be other cost reductions made that can be made which will not hit services. Allowing costs to be spread over a couple of years may be reasonable but officers must try a lot harder than just wringing their stained hands.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • Easy to save this money without cutting services - don't build the pointless waste of money road-to-nowhere NDR!

    Report this comment

    Edward Millionaireband

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • How could Henry refuse after Gnobbs' obnoxious comments at every opportunity in the media. Anyone for diplomacy? PS God Bless Eric Pickles!!!

    Report this comment

    Barking

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • K.nobbs you really are a two faced twit, you moan about everybody then you work out that you need them. Perhaps you should say sorry to all the MP's first as they were doing what there voters asked them to.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • I do not know how GNobbs can expect anything from Govt after his ongoing attack on Mr Pickles yesterday. I, among others, are grateful for the result however am critical of the constant referral to the fact that Pickles is to blame. The blame game should be firmly placed on the shoulders of those who signed the Contract in the first place and second on those, including GNobbs who could have dumped this incinerator back in October or even at the time when the PFI was withdrawn. The Timmins report was a red herring to give the go- ahead to keeping the incinerator company on board. The facts were such at that stage that any 'joe bloggs' would know that you don't sign a contract without some safeguards built in for the other party. This was completely ignored in the 'onesided' agreement drawn up by the Murphy administration- was there any great opposition then from the Labour members? In fact only recently Harrison and Castle now both Cabinet members were singing its praises at the October Council meeting. Yesterday showed to the general public just who we have running our council. GNobbs was hoping that the glow of success will help him through the next leadership contest, I think not. The Tories yesterday also showed a considerable lack of intelligence particularly Cllr Somerville who is probably in competition with Spratt, Borrett and Jordan for sheer ignorance. It needs to be pointed out to such as these that little knowledge is a dangerous thin. However, the clown of all clowns badge must go to bully Monson who swaggers around with not an ounce of grey matter between his ears. Yes the anti incinerator group were sneered upon yesterday but by whom? Certainly not by anyone who had half a brain. Just remember councillors that the group of protestors worked tirelessly bringing together highly qualified experts, lawyers, accountants and researchers all unpaid and all giving freely of their time and it was a struggle to get the message across at times because most councillors did not have the brains to understand or the ability to listen to anything except the jingle of money in their pockets.

    Report this comment

    maryjane

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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

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