Campaigners against the Lynn incinerator project have called for the Government to intervene to help meet the costs of pulling out of the deal.
Ahead of Monday’s crunch county council meeting on the issue, and with County Hall officials claiming cancellation of the contract with Cory Wheelabrator could risk bankrupting the authority, officials in Whitehall have now been urged to step in.
But senior county council chiefs have rejected calls for unity and a joint approach to ministers, insisting that the actions of politicians who are against the plant and lobbied for a £169 million government grant to be withdrawn have triggered the latest crisis.
Labour councillor Alexandra Kemp, whose Clenchwarton and Lynn South division includes the incinerator site, wrote to the Treasury on Wednesday afternoon to seek an urgent meeting on the subject.
Meanwhile, North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said he had written to both the Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government over the issue and claimed he has been given a clear indication that any request for assistance would be seriously considered.
He accused officers at County Hall of being in “denial” and said a loan would relieve the pressure on the council’s finances.
He added that he would seek to reopen the planning inquiry into the plant if councillors voted to accept the developers’ revised project plan for the site.
“There would be an argument to refer it back to the inspector”, he said.
West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney also called for a joint approach to the government for financial help and technical support to reach an acceptable waste solution in an open letter sent to his county council counterpart, George Nobbs, and other senior politicians on Monday.
He wrote: “I believe that the residents of Norfolk would expect no less.”
And Mike Knights, vice-chairman of the King’s Lynn Without Incineration (KLWIN) campaign group, added: “If they are not willing to ask for that help, I think they will be letting people down.”
But, in a reply to Mr Daubney seen by the Lynn News yesterday, Mr Nobbs said he had been told there was no chance of any further government help.
He added: “I hope that you will understand if I devote my immediate time to trying to cope with the problems created by the actions of Mr Bellingham and others.”
As previously reported, councillors will be asked to consider whether to accept or reject a revised project plan submitted by the developers following delays in securing planning consent for the plant.
Their recommendation will then go before the ruling cabinet, which is due to meet on Tuesday morning.