Could axing King’s Lynn incinerator funding deter investment in Norfolk, asks business leader

Could scrapping funding for the burner deter investors from bringing their business to Norfolk?

Could scrapping funding for the burner deter investors from bringing their business to Norfolk? - Credit: Matthew Usher

Business leaders fear the government's decision to withdraw £159m in funding from the proposed King's Lynn incinerator could deter investment in the county.

Environment minister Lord de Mauley announced last month that waste infrastructure credits towards the cost of the plant had been withdrawn.

He said a planning deadline had not been met and a review had shown the Saddlebow plant was no onger needed to meet government targets for diverting waste from landfill.

But Dr Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise partnership (LEP) asked if 'all factors' were taken into account before the decision was made.

In a letter to the minister, he said it looked to projects like the incinerator to bring business to the area, adding:

'At £500m, this is one of the biggest ever local infrastructure projects and our interest is in the 1,000 jobs it will attract during the three-year construction period and the 40 permanent jobs thereafter.

'Also for the jobs and investment in the project's supply chain that are estimated to be worth around £7m and for the loss of between £15m and £20m in the local supply of goods and services.

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'As we continue to attract inward investment to New Anglia we look to projects like this to help encourage others from the Uk and around the world to bring their business to our area and to help underpin investor confidence.

'We fear that the unintended consequence of the recent announcement and the longer term impact it may have may deter future investors and businesses from placing their faith in the New Anglia economy.'

County councillors voted 40 to 38 to press ahead with the plant after a stormy meeting on October 28. The final decision rests with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, after the planning inspector who chaired a public inquiry makes her recommendation.

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