King’s Lynn incinerator plan moves a step closer

Moves to build an incinerator in Norfolk took a significant step forward today after a bid to delay the process and allow all 84 members of the county council to debate the issue was defeated amid warnings that residents could be exposed to a multi-million pound legal challenge.

During more than six hours of sometimes acrimonious debate, which included claims of violence and political intimidation against some members as well as open clashes between Conservative councillors, members of Norfolk County Council's scrutiny committee rejected five separate attempts to force a rethink on the decision by the ruling cabinet to award a 25-year contract to Anglo-US firm Cory Wheelabrator to build an energy from waste facility at the Saddlebow industrial estate, near King's Lynn.

More than 60 people had packed the public gallery for the meeting during which opposition Labour, Lib Dem and Green councillors had each called for a rethink, while a group of rebel West Norfolk councillors also said all members should be allowed to vote on the decision.

Labour councillor George Nobbs, said the decision to press ahead with the contract was 'fatally flawed'.

'There were 65,000 people who voted not to have an incinerator and their views were ignored,' Mr Nobbs said.

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But Victoria McNeil, the council's head of law, told members that the move was in breach of the council's constitution and could see the authority placed at substantial risk of a legal challenge.

A final attempt by committee chairman Paul Morse to secure a full council debate before the next cabinet meeting was also rejected.

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The decision means that the authority can now press ahead with concluding a contract with Cory Wheelabrator while the firm is expected to submit a planning application in the next few weeks.

See tomorrow's paper for full story

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