Wrangle over Norfolk incinerator compensation bill continues

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

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

The first £11.8m of the bill for scrapping the King's Lynn incinerator has been paid, but the full cost to the Norfolk taxpayer is still not set in stone.

The county council voted by 48 votes to 30 to terminate the contract for the proposed incinerator at Saddlebow at an extraordinary meeting in April.

Council officers had said that, due to delays in securing planning permission, the controversial project no longer offered good value for money, and councillors agreed to ditch it,

In May, the estimated cost of cancelling the contract was put at just over £33.7m, including £20.3m to Cory Wheelabrator - the company which would have built and run the burner; public inquiry costs of £1.6m and estimated interest rate related costs of £11.8m.

That latter cost was paid today, but at a meeting of the county council's police and resources committee yesterday, deputy leader David Harrison revealed the wrangle over costs continues.

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He said there had been months of arguments over the fine details of the contract and how much that means the council must pay Cory Wheelabrator.

Liberal Democrat Mr Harrison, said: 'The process has taken two months of arguing and Cory Wheelabrator has now presented a document to us as to what the amount is.

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'The process has been extended out until September for a process of due diligence to take place. It is not over yet.'

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council confirmed that the £11.8m was paid yesterday, but that Cory Wheelabrator's compensation claim would now be subject to due diligence.

In a note sent to councillors, Joel Hull, project director of residual waste services, wrote: 'Our specialist advisors, including forensic accountants, are now scrutinising in detail all the evidence submitted by Cory Wheelabrator to justify its compensation claim for up to £20.3m of its total costs.

'Its expenditure is actually higher than this capped figure. Nevertheless, we will request further evidence or reject any part of the compensation claim where required, and now expect that any payment relating to this would be made by September 2 and that any process leading to a payment would have appropriate member involvement throughout.'

The council has created reserves of £33.7m to pay the costs associated with scrapping the incinerator.

What do you think of the incinerator saga? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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