It isn’t dead yet, but the ill-conceived and deeply resented proposed Saddlebow incinerator stands on the verge of being scrapped after the Government deemed it unnecessary.
In a letter to Norfolk County Council and MPs Henry Bellingham and Elizabeth Truss, Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said he was withdrawing £169 million of funding because the burner was not needed to meet EU landfill targets.
He said the review was prompted by a breach of the terms and conditions under which funding was originally agreed. It was almost certainly also the result of sustained lobbying by politicians and Lynn News readers
The decision is a serious blow to the county council and there will be financial repercussions if the scheme is scrapped because of the £20.3 million in compensation, plus an estimated £6 million in further charges paid to contractors Cory Wheelabrator.
Nonetheless, the Lynn News now calls on the county council to abandon the scheme and to acknowledge that it has never had the support of the people of King’s Lynn who have been led in their campaign against it by this newspaper.
A decision will be made on Tuesday next week by the county council cabinet after all the members have discussed the implications when they receive an amended plan at a meeting on Monday.
It is by no means over. It won’t be until the fat lady sings and there will be many councillors and other stakeholders who would rather see NCC avoid financial embarrassment irrespective of the damage the burner would do to King’s Lynn.
We call upon councillors to recognise the folly of the project based as it is on outdated technology and to opt instead for a policy of recycling.
The result is a triumph for pressure group King’s Lynn Without Incineration and other anti-incinerator lobbyists including the MPs.
The situation remains technically still in the balance while Cory Wheelabrator bosses go back to the drawing board following the Government’s bold move to withdraw the Waste Infrastructure Credits.
County councillors must show equal strength in cutting their losses, paying off Cory Wheelabrator and finding the right future for Norfolk and King’s Lynn.