Disappointment and delight - reaction to decision to scrap incinerator plan for Norfolk

The scene at County Hall where the decision was announced to scrap the incinerator. Campaigners leav

The scene at County Hall where the decision was announced to scrap the incinerator. Campaigners leave the meeting. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

The firm which was due to build the King's Lynn incinerator have told of their 'disappointment' after the plan was scrapped.

The decision by the council's cabinet followed an extraordinary meeting of the Full Council at County Hall, Norwich, at which, after over three and a half hours of debate, members voted to recommend the contract was terminated.

After the meeting, a spokesperson for Cory Wheelabrator, which had been given the contract to run the site, said: 'We are extremely disappointed by the decisions today, particularly as many years of hard work have gone into this project by the consortium and Norfolk County Council.

'We believed that the public inquiry would have provided a fair hearing for all parties and that a decision would be based on pure planning grounds.

'We, and the industry, have also made it clear to government that planning delays to major infrastructure projects are costly and can jeopardise future investment.

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'The Willows project looks set to become yet another example of this delay and uncertainty. The delay to that planning decision has resulted in considerable costs to all parties at a time when public funds are already stretched.

'The fact still remains that there is no firm solution for the long-term management of Norfolk's waste, despite considerable time and expense being devoted to a solution that was viable, deliverable and would have created hundreds of jobs.'

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The cost of terminating the contract is estimated to be £30.26m, comprising capped compensation to Cory Wheelabrator of £20.3m, contractor public inquiry costs of £1.6m and exchange rate and interest rate related costs of £8.36m.

Cabinet agreed that these costs should be met through a £19m contingency reserve built up for the purpose, £3m from the council's 2013/14 under spend, and £8m from general reserves, on the basis that the council takes immediate steps to replenish those reserves. Cabinet will consider the options at its meeting on 12 May.

Henry Bellingham, North West Norfolk MP, who was against the plans, said: 'This is fantastic news and the vote was far more overwhelming than I was anticipating.

'It has been the culmination of a very long and exhausting campaign, but this is one of the best days of my political career to see the campaign being won.

'However, what we must now do is make sure that no effort is spared in everyone working together to ensure that we have in place sustainable ways of sorting out Norfolk's waste.

'What we need to have in place are new technologies that adhere to the proximity principle - so in other words, waste is treated near to where it is generated. In the short term there are cost effective options involving moving the waste out of the county; in the medium term, we must get in place these new technologies that command public support.

'Furthermore, all of the Norfolk MPs will be on hand to work together with Norfolk County Council to try to mitigate any penalties.'

'This is a great victory for the people of West Norfolk, but there will obviously be lots of lessons to be learnt – one of the most important of which is that no council should ever ride roughshod over local public opinion.'

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss added: 'Councillors have made the right decision. The economic case simply did not add up with Norfolk tax payers committed to a contract that was charging £105 per tonne to dispose of the waste compared to the average of £78 per tonne.

'In January this year, with Henry Bellingham MP and West Norfolk council Leader Nick Daubney, we presented the financial figures that show the alternative arrangements for disposing of our rubbish are far cheaper.

'The Cory Wheelbrator project would have cost an additional £100 million over the lifetime of the contract. Now is the time to move on to secure a Norfolk wide waste policy that does command the support of local residents, is completely transparent and not concealed behind corporate confidentiality.'

Did your councillor vote to ditch the incinerator?

Yes (48)

Stephen Agnew (UKIP - Marshland North)

Colin Aldred (UKIP - Lothingland)

Michael Baker (UKIP - Holt)

Richard Bearman (G - Mancroft)

Richard Bird (Ind - North Coast)

Andrew Boswell (G - Nelson)

Bert Bremner (L - University)

Julie Brociek-Coulton (L - Sewell)

Mick Castle (L - Yarmouth North and Central)

Michael Chenery of Horsbrugh (C

Jonathon Childs (UKIP - East Flegg)

Toby Coke (UKIP - Gayton and Nar Valley)

David Collis (L - King's Lynn North and Central)

Emma Corlett (L - Town Close)

Hilary Cox (C - Cromer)

Denis Crawford (UKIP - Thetford East)

Adrian Dearnley (G - Thorpe Hamlet)

John Dobson (C - Dersingham)

Tim East (LD - Costessey)

Deborah Gihawi (L - Mile Cross)

Paul Gilmour (UKIP - Dereham South)

Pat Hacon (L - Caister-on-Sea)

Brian Hannah (LD - Sheringham)

David Harrison (LD -Aylsham)

Stan Hebborn (UKIP - Watton)

Terry Jermy (L - Thetford West)

James Joyce (LD - Reepham)

Alexandra Kemp (Ind - Clenchwarton and King's Lynn South)

Jason Law (C - Freebridge Lynn)

Brian Long (C - Fincham)

Elizabeth Morgan (G - Wensum)

Steve Morphew (L - Catton Grove)

George Nobbs (L - Crome)

Rex Parkinson-Hare (UKIP - Yarmouth Nelson and Southtown)

Jim Perkins (UKIP - Gaywood North and Central)

David Ramsbotham (UKIP - Melton Constable)

Daniel Roper (LD - Hevingham and Spixworth)

Mike Sands (L - Bowthorpe)

Matthew Smith (unaligned)

Paul Smyth (UKIP - Swaffham)

Martin Storey (C - Feltwell)

Marie Strong (LD - Wells)

David Thomas (LD - South Smallburgh)

John Timewell (LD - North Walsham West and Erpingham)

Colleen Walker (L - Magdalen)

Brian Watkins (LD - Eaton)

Sue Whitaker (L - Lakenham)

Margaret Wilkinson (L - Gaywood South)

No (30)

Tony Adams (C- Drayton and Horsford)

Stephen Askew (C - Guiltcross)

Bill Borrett (C - Elmham and Matishall)

Alec Byrne (C - Attleborough)

Jenny Chamberlin (C - Diss and Roydon)

Stuart Clancy (C - Taverham)

Nigel Dixon (C - Hoveton and Stalham)

Tom FitzPatrick (C - Fakenham)

Colin Foulger (C - Forehoe)

Tom Garrod (C- Wroxham)

Adrian Gunson (C - Loddon)

Shelagh Gurney (C - Hellesdon)

Harry Humphrey (C - Marshland South)

Brian Iles (C - Acle)

Cliff Jordan (C - Yare and All Saints)

Judy Leggett (C - Old Catton)

Ian Mackie (C - Thorpe St Andrew)

Ian Monson (C - The Brecks)

Joe Mooney (C - Wymondham)

Wyndham Northam (C - Mundesley)

Andrew Proctor (C - Blofield and Brundall)

William Richmond (C - Dereham North)

Nigel Shaw (C - Woodside)

Roger Smith (C - Henstead)

Margaret Somerville (C -Clavering)

Bev Spratt (C - West Depwade)

Alison Thomas (C - Long Stratton)

Judith Virgo (C - Humbleyard)

John Ward (C - Sprowston)

Martin Wilby (C - East Depwade)

Abstained (1)

Margaret Dewsbury (C - Hingham)

Not present

Michael Carttiss (C - West Flegg)

Mark Kiddle-Morris (C - Necton and Launditch)

Alan Grey (UKIP - Breydon)

Eric Seward (LD - North Walsham East)

Tony White (C - Downham Market)

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