UKIP leader to lobby Norfolk County Council leader over incinerator ahead of crunch council vote
The leader of UKIP councillors will meet the leader of Norfolk County Council on Tuesday in an attempt to persuade him to support the cancellation of the proposed King's Lynn incinerator in a crunch vote next week.
The government announced on Friday it would withdraw £169m of funding for the project, but cabinet members have warned the estimated £26m cost of cancelling the scheme would have a 'devastating' effect on front-line council services.
The talks between UKIP's Toby Coke and Labour's George Nobbs come just six days before an extraordinary meeting of the council when all 84 councillors will be able to vote on the future of the scheme.
Mr Coke said his group of 14 councillors would have a free vote, and he expected all of them would vote against the incinerator. The 40-strong Conservative group, nine-strong Liberal Democrat group and four-strong Green group will also have free votes.
Because the meeting was called at short notice, it is believed a number of councillors will be unable to attend, adding to the uncertainty about the outcome.
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However, the final decision will be taken the following day by the eight-member cabinet, which is composed of five Labour councillors and three Liberal Democrats, and is not legally bound to follow the decision of the full council.
Last week, North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham wrote to the government asking it to give the council a loan to cover the cost of cancelling the contract.
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However, a spokesman for Defra said: 'Any potential costs arising under the contract are an issue for the council and the contractor.'