Council launches legal challenge over Defra funding for King’s Lynn incinerator

The fight against the proposed King's Lynn incinerator has entered another round after borough councillors agreed to launch a legal challenge against the award of government funding.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman confirmed earlier this month that a �91m Waste Infrastructure (WI) grant would be issued which Norfolk County Council said would be worth up to �169m for the project over 25 years.

The minister had previously withheld funds for the Saddlebow scheme because she wanted to be convinced there was a 'broad consensus' for the waste strategy.

At a meeting in King's Lynn this evening, West Norfolk Council members voted unanimously in favour of starting court action, claiming the subsequent decision to bankroll a development which 65,000 people had opposed in a poll could not be justified.

West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney said a barrister and specialist planning solicitors had been engaged by the authority, which has set aside a �150,000 fighting find for the legal challenge.

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'We want to move on this,' he said. 'To award these credits, the secretary of state needs to have satisfied herself that there is broad consensus of support for the project.

'In November, she was not satisfied that support was in place. She wrote to the county council asking for additional evidence. We are asking: What has changed?

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'We want her to share that evidence with us. She has not done that, so we believe the criteria has not been met, and that justifies a legal challenge.'

In Mrs Spelman's letter to county council leader Derrick Murphy, she said: 'Local opposition is not, in itself, unusual in major energy from waste projects and is something which the planning system is well placed to weigh in reaching its judgement on whether the project should proceed.

'We consider that 'broad consensus' does allow for some dissent and does not in particular require unanimity amongst the interested local authorities.'

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