A decision to cancel the controversial Lynn incinerator project could end up costing taxpayers more than £100 million, an independent report has claimed.
However, the study by the accountants PWC, published late this afternoon, said that figure would only apply if developers Cory Wheelabrator were deemed to be entitled to compensation for money they would have invested over the entire 25-year duration of their contract with the county council.
The firm, which was appointed by leading anti-incinerator campaigners to consider the financial implications of axing the deal in July, has estimated the costs of the council voluntarily withdrawing from the contract at £28 million, based on the amount the contractors have spent to date in pursuing the Saddlebow scheme.
However, the report also suggests that the cost of terminating the contract because of a failure to secure planning permission would be pegged at £24.7 million.
That figure equates to the known £20.3 million penalty clause in the contract for not securing planning consent, plus an additional £4.4 million to meet the cost of hedging arrangements, which are designed to protect the developer from losses triggered by negative developments.
Campaigners who are fighting the development maintain that costs would be capped at the same level as if planning permission was withheld if councillors vote to reject a revised project plan for the scheme at two key meetings next week.