INCINERATOR: Councillor calls for probe over incinerator decision
A West Norfolk councillor who helped to choose the consortium to run the planned Lynn incinerator has called for a new inquiry into the issue.
Brian Long has said he feels he was misled into supporting the Cory Wheelabrator bid for the project as a member of the county council’s waste procurement board in 2010.
County council chiefs have pointed out that the recommendation, which was later adopted by the authority’s cabinet amid fierce opposition, was subsequently supported by the decision to allocate a government grant to the scheme.
But Mr Long has alleged that board members were only presented with a report backing Cory Wheelabrator’s bid over a rival proposal minutes before the key meeting.
And he said the way the issue was handled at the time should now be reviewed before a public planning inquiry into the development starts next month.
He said yesterday: “If there’s nothing to hide there’s no reason why they don’t have a public scrutiny meeting. If that’s not possible, there should be an independent inquiry.”
Questions about how the recommendation was made re-emerged during last week’s Westminster Hall debate in which North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham called for the county council to explain why they had backed the Cory Wheelabrator bid over a rival proposal, which was tens of millions of pounds cheaper.
In emails released to the Lynn News yesterday, acting county council leader Bill Borrett said there had been no public record of Mr Long raising concerns on the issue until now.
He also pointed out that Mr Long had twice voted to support the Cory Wheelabrator bid at board meetings in 2010 and early 2011.
In the email sent on Saturday, he added: “I am only quoting the public record in this matter, none of it is my opinion.
“I have no alternative but to come to the conclusion that you did recommend the final bidder and made no attempt to share your latest allegation before yesterday’s email.”
But Mr Long said any protest he may have made at the time would not have altered the way in which the board voted. He also claimed that he was on record as having raised similar concerns at a meeting of Lynn’s Older People’s Forum last year.
And anti-incinerator campaigner Michael de Whalley, who brought an unsuccessful legal action against the council’s decision to award a contract to Cory Wheelabrator also defended Mr Long.
He said: “Brian has realised the mistake that others at County Hall are yet to accept. We still have the opportunity to put it right.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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