Norfolk Count Council leader makes appeal to the Prime Minister for £30m

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The leader of Norfolk County Council has appealed to the Prime Minister for help in paying the £30 million costs of cancelling the incinerator.

George Nobbs wrote to David Cameron last week for financial support in meeting the cancellation costs and putting together a third project to deal with Norfolk’s waste.

Last month the county council voted to end the contract with Cory Wheelabrator to build a burner at Saddlebow, which was formally terminated last week.

The council now needs to find £30 million which includes £20 million compensation to Cory and £1.6 million public inquiry costs.

In his letter, Mr Nobbs asked the Prime Minister for assistance with the costs and a reduction in the authority’s landfill costs.

He writes: “I am writing to you in order to ask for your help with a serious financial problem that my council has had to deal with as a result of the actions of a previous council administration here and the inaction of your Secretary of State for Communities.

“Norfolk County Council embarked on delivering a ‘solution to waste’ scheme in 2003, which, by the very nature of an infrastructure project, is complex and requires an unwavering commitment over a period of time.

“The first scheme failed because the contract did not represent value for money. The second scheme, initially approved by Government departments, has recently failed.

“The reason is essentially the same value for money difficulty, though there is a difference. In the first scheme it was the market that did not produce a competitive price; for the second scheme it was the elongation of a Government decision that moved the contract into a negative return.

“The consequence is that the council is having to pay just over £30m for the failure to proceed, and will now have to embark on a third scheme, with further costs to be met.

“Delivery of the third scheme will be blighted by the market knowledge of the demise of the previous two schemes.

“The nine Norfolk MPs, all supporters of your government, have spoken warmly of a partnership approach between the Council and Government, and sharing these abortive costs.”

He later adds: “Throughout this whole business, my administration has had to deal with a contract which was entered into, in good faith, by a previous Conservative council administration, in the teeth of opposition from all Norfolk’s MPs and the relevant (Conservative-led) district council. We have throughout done our level best to defend the interest of the people of Norfolk and the Council’s reputation as a body that treats infrastructure projects properly.”

West Norfolk Council is now considering buying the Willows site.