Legal cost to county revealed as King’s Lynn incinerator inquiry resumes

The proposed site of the incinerator at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt

The proposed site of the incinerator at Saddlebow. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Norfolk County Council has revealed it expects to be landed with a legal bill of more than £110,000 for the public inquiry into the proposed King's Lynn incinerator.

The disclosure came as the QC representing Cory Wheelabrator prepared to open the case behind why it wants to build the plant, as the inquiry resumes.

As well as its own legal costs, the county council is also paying 90pc of Cory's costs once these exceed an undisclosed 'five figure sum'.

In his opening submission to planning inspector Elizabeth Hill, as the inquiry got under way at King's lynn Corn Exchange last Tuesday, Richard Phillips QC, on behalf of Cory, said King's Lynn was 'well-suited' as a potential site for the incinerator.

Today Mr Phiilips will call his first witness - John Boldon, from Cory, to give evidence before he is cross-examined by other parties for and against the incinerator.


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The latest costs figure emerged at a meeting of the county council's controlling Conservative cabinet after a question was asked by a member of the public yesterday.

County council leader Bill Borrett said: 'The county council's actual spend on legal fees in preparing for public inquiry, recorded on our financial system, up to the end of December 2012 is £12,900.

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'Further invoices are expected because the county council has a contract for the services of QC for the public inquiry, for which the expected cost based on the current timetable, will be around £110,000.'

The cabinet also fielded a question from Alexandra Kemp, Labour county councillor for Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South, over the contract between the county council and Cory Wheelabrator - the firm which would run the incinerator.

The inquiry heard last week that, while the contract is included in the evidence for the inquiry, parts of it are blanked out because of commercial sensitivity, something which led to opponents to claim information was being withheld.

Miss Kemp called for the cabinet to 'take immediate steps' to release the full unredacted contract, along with air quality modelling information and a specification for the bags which will be used to filter emissions from the plant.

But Mr Borrett, who is also cabinet member for environment and waste, said: 'The contract is governed by commercial confidentiality. However the redacted documents have been on the county council's website since April 2012, with minimal redactions that only relate to exempt information where its disclosure would risk putting the council in breach of its legal obligations.'

On the issue of air quality, Mr Borrett said the plant had been granted an environmental permit by the Environment Agency and added he expected the inquiry to examine that issue in detail.

Today the inquiry resumes from 9.30am at the Professional Development Centre, in Kilham's Way, King's Lynn.

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