KING’S LYNN: Incinerator inquiry hit by timetable row
Mystery continues to surround the arrangements for the Lynn incinerator public inquiry – just days before the hearing is due to start.
And the final timetable for the inquiry, which is expected to run for up to eight weeks, may not be finalised at all until the opening session at Lynn’s Corn Exchange on Tuesday.
Campaigners say they are considering their position amid their claims they have already been disadvantaged by the delays in finalising the timetable.
The problems have been made worse by the need to appoint a new inspector, Elizabeth Hill, to replace Kenneth Smith after he was taken ill.
But planning officials have insisted that the situation is normal and that any outstanding concerns will be resolved when the inquiry opens.
Although the inquiry is set to open on time at 10am on Tuesday, it will then be adjourned until the following Tuesday, March 5, to allow the new inspector time to read documents on the case.
A Planning Inspectorate spokesman said the circumstances were unfortunate, but insisted there were “robust procedures” in place to deal with such situations.
She added: “ Elizabeth Hill, the inspector appointed to take over the inquiry is a very experienced senior inspector and we do not envisage that there will be a significant delay.”
But representatives of the King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) campaign group allege that the changes mean they could be left without formal legal representation for at least some of the proceedings.
They also claim they did not get an initial draft of the inquiry timetable until two months after an initial meeting to make arrangements for the hearing.
Group spokesman Mike Knights: “It is very unsatisfactory that with the inquiry opening in less than a week we still have uncertainty when our witnesses and counsel need to be there.
“We had to brief our witnesses and barrister to attend on specific days under the timetable we had.
“For people with expertise and busy diaries such last minute changes to the timetable cannot easily be accommodated.
“In particular, our counsel has to appear at another call-in inquiry during the first week of April. There is every chance that we will not be properly represented.”
Residents are being urged to attend Tuesday’s session, where opening statements will be made on both sides of the argument.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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