Background: The report recommending King’s Lynn incinerator plan is thrown-out
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Extracts from the Norfolk County Council report recommending termination of the King's Lynn incinerator proposal.
On the delay in a planning application decision from Eric Pickles: 'The county council has written to him (Pickles) ... he has also been asked to provide a timescale within which a decision might be expected, but he has not done so.
'Cabinet has the choice of either:
(a) Continuing to await the Community Secretary's decision; or
(b) Terminating the contract'
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On the continued value for money of the project: 'This (delays) presents the risk that the guaranteed value for money of the contract compared to landfill will reduce to nil before a planning decision is given and the proposal can go ahead. This point will be reached in 2014.'
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In conclusion: 'The risk that the project will not be able to proceed, set alongside the increasing breakage costs and the diminishing value for money has been carefully assessed by officers. The issues are complex. But, on balance in the light of the combination of risks presented by the unpredictable factors now at play, it is recommended that the county council should minimise the potential financial impact by not agreeing the increased breakage costs.'
On how much money the incinerator would save: 'This figure (£12m) is £8m lower than the £20m referred to in the report to Cabinet on 29 October as a consequence of the delay ... By comparison, when the contract was signed, it was expected to save Norfolk taxpayers significantly more, around £250m over 25 years, based on two things:
- A contract price that was originally around £582m. The delay has resulted in an increase in contract price and a continued shortening of the contract payback period.
- A Government grant worth around £169m meaning the cost to Norfolk taxpayers was subsidised. However ... Defra reviewed that grant and subsequently removed it.'
In a March 10, 2014 letter to Eric Pickles, signed by George Nobbs, council leader, Beverley Spratt, chairman of the panel which oversees waste and James Joyce, deputy leader, said: 'The absence of any clear reason or explanation for the delay is leading to suggestions locally that the decision is being delayed for political reasons, a rumour that we are sure you would wish to dispel just as strongly as we do. This protracted delay is damaging both to council taxpayers and the public faith in democracy.'