County council can’t put its case in King’s Lynn incinerator poll for ‘legal reasons’
Norfolk County Council has declined to defend its proposed incinerator in a poll of more than 100,000 voters.
It claims it could not provide information in support of the plant, because this would conflict with 'legal requirements'.
Voting papers have been sent to 120,000 people on the electoral roll in West Norfolk, in the borough council poll.
They ask people to state whether they agree or disagree with building the incinerator at Saddlebow, on the outskirts of King's Lynn.
Both sides were given the chance to make their case, on a letter included in the mailing.
But while opponents make their case against building what they call 'the incinerator Norwich didn't want' in West Norfolk, the section of the letter earmarked for highlighting arguments in favour of the scheme has been left blank.
A note says: 'Norfolk County Council was given the opportunity to provide informartion for this leaflet to support the proposal.
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'It has declined for the following reason: 'Because of clear legal advice that to do so would conflict with legal requirements concerning Norfolk County Council's role as planning authority on this matter.'
In a letter published in Friday's EDP Anne Steward, the county's cabinet member for sustainable development, said: 'I have received very clear legal advice that to keep within the law we cannot - and should not - take part in any campaigning activities, either for or against the Saddlebow plant.
'This prevents us from producing poll-specific materials or appearing on campaign platforms or associated campaign meetings, though of course, the same restriction does not apply to any organisation that wishes to campaign against.'
Last night West Norfolk council, which has organised the poll, declined to comment on the leaflet.
The closing date for the poll is February 28. Results will be made public in early March.
West Norfolk council will not decide whether the incinerator is built. But the leaflet says results of the ballot will be made available to Norfolk County Council.