Anti-incinerator campaigners have claimed it is “outrageous” that the public purse is meeting the legal bill of a “multi-million dollar” company .
Norfolk County Council yesterday confirmed it is paying some of Cory Wheelabrator’s costs for the forthcoming public inquiry.
A Cory spokesman would not tell the Lynn News the estimated costs of its legal bill or the agreed five figure sum between them and the council, and added:“This is a standard position for a UK procurement project”
But residents are angry their money is being used to fund a company which would make millions if communities secretary Eric Pickles approves the development.
The disclosure followed the opening scenes of the inquiry on Wednesday when county council barrister Neil Cameron QC and Richard Phillips QC, representing Cory, could not say who was paying the developer’s costs.
Up to 400 people attended the pre-inquiry hearing at Lynnsport where inspector Ken Smith and barristers representing the county, Cory, West Norfolk Council and King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) agreed procedures.
But many left after being unable to hear proceedings.
Anti-incinerator campaigner Mike Knights said yesterday: “It is outrageous that the public purse should used to support the costs of a private company that already, if it succeeds, would stand to make £17.5 million profit out of the Norfolk taxpayer every single year for 25 years.”
Elaine Oliver, of the Norfolk Waste Research Group, said: “The absurdity of a public authority subsidising a multi-national consortium shows just how badly the county council has mismanaged this project. The tax payer will now be left footing a bill that could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
Bill Borrett, the county council’s deputy leader, said: “As you are aware it is the government who has called in this application for examination. We welcome its independent look at the process, and the county council and Cory Wheelabrator, as its contractor working on its behalf, have to meet the necessary costs involved.
“The split is as follows; “Cory Wheelabrator will meet their costs up to an agreed five figure sum with the County Council meeting 90 per cent of the rest above that.”
During the hearing, Mr Smith said areas to be discussed during the inquiry will include conformity to planning policies, air quality, flood risk, environmental and ecological impact, transport and recycling.
Residents can register to speak at the inquiry, which will opens on February 26 at the Lynn Corn Exchange.