County council bosses have said it is too early to say how much it will cost the authority to prepare for next year’s public inquiry into plans for a Norfolk incinerator.

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Norfolk County Council voted to give planning permission for the plant at Saddlebow, King’s Lynn, in June, but communities secretary Eric Pickles’s office announced the decision was being called in, meaning there will be a full public inquiry.

That inquiry will take place in King’s Lynn in January, but at a meeting of the county council this week questions were asked about what the authority has budgeted to put its case at that inquiry.

Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: “The council does not yet have enough information to estimate for budget purposes the overall cost to the council of the public inquiry, but hopes to be in a position to do so following the pre-inquiry meeting on November 28 and agreement of common ground between the parties.” He added that Neil Cameron QC had been engaged “for legal matters”, while professional advisors may also be “engaged on technical matters”.

Norfolk County Council awarded the contract to build and operate the incinerator last year to Anglo-American consortium Cory Wheelabrator.

It said the plant was needed to prevent the county’s waste having to go to landfill, which would save taxpayers millions of pounds a year.

But campaigners claim there are health risks and there are cheaper and more environmentally-friendly methods of recycling our waste. More than 65,000 people voted against the plant in a poll organised by West Norfolk council.

West Norfolk Council last month agreed to sign a contract with a company called Material Works which will turn West Norfolk’s waste into an inert plastic used in the building industry instead.

Campaigners have questioned why Norfolk County Council cannot go down that road, rather than the incineration route.

But Bill Borrett, cabinet member for environment and waste, said the claims by Duratrust, the company behind Material Works, were unproven.

He said: “There are still many key questions to be answered about this scheme and I look forward to receiving the hard facts - information that we have been calling for since the idea was first suggested.”

Robert Billson, managing director of Material Works, said the process had been explained in detail at three locations in West Norfolk at public consultations in recent months.

He added: “The response from those who came to see the public consultation was overwhelmingly positive and we were very pleased so many people took the trouble to come and see what we are proposing.

“As part of the remit of Material Works, we intend to create a demonstration plant, which will be available to display the potential of the processes in a practical manner.”

17 comments

  • Typical of Borrett to arrogantly expect other people to come running to him rather than the other way round. YOU'RE the cabinet member for Environment and Waste Bill - get off your a*** and do your job for goodness sake!

    Report this comment

    Fenscape

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • When I read Bill Borratts statement, "if there are key questions still to be answered" how have they got so far with the project. Looks to me as if they are building a get out clause themselves should they loose the inquiry.

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    Marigold

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • One of the outcomes of this increasingly costly exercise is the likely response of the good people of West Norfolk to any future demands for a unitary county council.

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    Peter Watson

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Bill Borrett says the claims by Duratrust, the company behind Material Works, were unproven. How does he know if he hasn't even taken the trouble to look at it? He also says there are still many key questions to be answered about this scheme and that he looks forward to receiving the hard facts - information that NCC have been calling for since the idea was first suggested. Well, get off your butt Borrett and find out. Why didn't you send a representative to King's Lynn to look at this scheme when you had the chance? Perhaps you're not in a position to consider alternatives even if they are more environmentally friendly and cheaper. Could it be that NCC's hands are too fully tied by their Cory Wheelabrator chums who'll be off back home, leaving us tax-payers to foot the bill, should this monstrous idea they've cooked up ever come to fruition. The only consolation will be that they'll probably take all those involved with them!

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    disolushund

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Why do they need to employ "experts" when they have already decided that incineration is the best option? Do they not trust their own staff to argue the case? Or is the case not convincing?? Or are their own staff not convinced? More money wasted by this profligate local authority bulldozing their way through local opinion.

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    norfolkngood

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • The key question for Cllr. Borett is' who is going to give you their waste for burning? If parishes, towns and City's decide to select their own recycling collections with a reputable recycler, then this incinerator, which will burn potential recycling jobs by the dozen, has nothing to burn. The waste we produce belongs to us, not NCC to do as they like, it is not us, the consumer who has broken the contract , but NCC's unaccountable and undemocratic cllr.s who have spent millions on over the going rate for legal costs already; trying to make out that they have a mandate is laughable.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Surely financial allowances for such an eventuality were made in NCC's original detailed and robust business plan? How much was the original sum that was allocated here? It's a very easy question Cllr Borrett, read the figure off the business plan. If no allowance was made then it would appear NCC and their costly consultants have been negligent with taxpayer's money, we have already seen how they simply view our money as a bottomless pit. NCC are using the people of West Norfolk's own money, taken from their council taxes, to fight its own battle that is nothing more than a dirty scheme for a handful of people to trouser money, and at the same time cutting back on much needed services. It's beginning to look like the perfect time for a public enquiry into how NCC have mis-managed our taxes over this incinerator, just as they intend to continue doing over the others they are planning and Coltishall.

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    Honest John

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Does the EDP know something we dont? I received the revised programe for the inquiry from the case officer only 2 days ago and it clearly states the the first day of the inquiry is 26th February not January!!

    Report this comment

    Joy, King's Lynn

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Plus of course, this is another case of a financially bankrupt council making morally bankrupt decisions - I wonder why the likes of Plant, Murphy and Borrett REALLY refuse to see the wood for the trees?

    Report this comment

    Fenscape

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Astonishing the Council have not included financial provision for a full and proper review process within their original business case. Says a lot about their ways of "doing" business.

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    city-man

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • What do they care how much it costs. It's our money they are wasting and have been doing so for years. And where's Murphy vanished to? He's left someone in charge who is laughably inept.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Of course they know how much it will cost. All they have to do is inspect similar cases other County councils that have gone down the same route. NCC must have known all Norfolk has rejected incineration with feedback from Costessey and must have known this day was imminent. The problem we have as rate payers is Cory Wheelabrator run County Hall and they will be spending part of their £20.5 million compensation clause to fund the very best legal firm. The inspector will need evidence that the public do not want an incinerator and the best evidence would be to show this at the May elections and kick Murphy’s lapdogs in the Ballots.

    Report this comment

    Knee deep In Toxic ash

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • I wonder if Murphy's busy crawling round nplaw and the independent person to make sure the report on him never sees the light of day?

    Report this comment

    Honest John

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Thinking about it, it's a massive pity that Graham Plant and Bill Borrett aren't being made to foot the bill for this themselves - then we'd know EXACTLY how much this action would cost... precisely nothing as they'd never risk the punt.

    Report this comment

    Fenscape

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Not that he and his whole gang aren't inept. It's just that Borrett is laughable too.

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    alecto

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Plus of course, this is another case of a financially bankrupt council making morally bankrupt decisions - I wonder why the likes of Plant, Murphy and Borrett REALLY refuse to see the wood for the trees?

    Report this comment

    Fenscape

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

  • Agreed alecto - the Chief Dalek seems to have trundled off for the time being - I wonder which hole he's hiding down now? Maybe he's gone back to the TCI for some winter sun at our expense again?

    Report this comment

    Fenscape

    Monday, November 12, 2012

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