Incinerator deal done? Not true says council

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Claims were made this week that a deal has been done for work to start on the Lynn incinerator site later this year.

The allegation was raised with officials by county councillor Alexandra Kemp, whose division incorporates the Saddlebow site.

She told the Lynn News she had been handed information by a source that would have to remain confidential.

Although officials have denied the claim, Miss Kemp has warned the authority not to try to pre-empt the outcome of the public inquiry into the project, which opens later this month.

Miss Kemp said that, if the claims were true, they would show a lack of respect to the whole of West Norfolk and particularly the division she represents.

She added: “We don’t want to see any cosy agreements for permission, either overt or covert.”

A county council spokesman said the authority’s director of environment, Mike Jackson, had assured Miss Kemp that the development could not go ahead without planning consent being confirmed. The council approved the plans last June prior to the scheme being called in by the Government.

Apublic inquiry into the scheme will open at Lynn’s Corn Exchange on February 26 and is expected to last for up to two months. It is then likely to be many more months before a ruling is delivered.

Following the departure of former county council leader Derrick Murphy North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham called on the authority to pay Cory Wheelabrator, the consortium chosen to run the plant to “go away”.

The contract for the development allows for a compensation clause of more than £20 million to be payable to Cory Wheelabrator if the project does not proceed.

But Miss Kemp believes a clause in the contract could allow the authority to walk away from the deal without any financial penalty on health grounds. Health concerns have been a key factor in the case against the incinerator.

And Miss Kemp said: “There is an argument that it (the incinerator) is against the council’s duty to promote public health.”