December 21 2013 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Monday, October 14, 2013
King’s Lynn incinerator plans are to be given the rule run over them by the government’s spending watchdog.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has said it will look at whether the Willows Power and Recycling Centre scheme is value for money as part of a report into private finance initiative grants for waste projects.
It has been selected as one of three projects which will be under the spotlight as part of an inquiry scheduled for early next year.
However the future of the incinerator could be decided before the NAO reports back.
The application is currently with the planning inspectorate - which held a public planning inquiry in King’s Lynn earlier this year with the secretary of state expected to report back later this year.
Norfolk County Council is also on the brink of a debate where every councillor gets to vote on the future of the controversial incinerator - more than three years after the then-Conservative cabinet agreed to award a contract for a plant to be run at King’s Lynn.
A group of councillors opposed to the plant has revealed another company says it could ship Norfolk’s waste to the AEB incinerator in Amsterdam, for less than it would cost council contractor Cory Wheelabrator to deal with it at Saddlebow.
The councillors say it makes it imperative that the full council should vote on whether to call for the government to withdraw its £169m waste credit support for the scheme and to recommend that the cabinet not agree a revised project plan for the plant - which would break the contract.
Labour leader George Nobbs, while warning against “sabotaging” the waste credits, has asked for a full council meeting to debate two reports previously commissioned into the plant; the waste and minerals strategies and to make a recommendation as to the revised project plan.
The NAO said it would be looking at three PFI waste incinerator projects “to gain insight into the role of the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs in promoting value for money in such projects”.
It said: “Under its Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme, the department has allocated £3.6bn in grants to 29 local authorities for waste infrastructure projects. The three projects the NAO has selected are Herefordshire Council and Worcestershire County Council’s EnviRecover scheme in Worcestershire; Norfolk County Council’s Willows Power & Recycling Centre scheme at King’s Lynn, Norfolk; and Surrey County Council’s Charlton Lane Eco Park scheme.”