There is no alternative to axing the Lynn incinerator contract before costs spiral any further, a cross-party group of county councillors has claimed today, Thursday, February 13.
The group, spearheaded by UKIP leader Toby Coke, has announced that it plans to seek a second full council meeting to decide whether the controversial Saddlebow scheme should be scrapped.
Although the authority voted to press ahead with the project in the autumn, there have been growing calls for a review following last week’s revelation that the bill would rise again if no decision was made by May 1.
Mr Coke said: “We believe that there is no alternative but to seek a termination of the contract, prior to that date.”
According to Norfolk County Council officers, the cost of terminating the authority’s contract with Cory Wheelabrator will go up by £5 million, to around £31 million, if a decision on whether the plant should be built is not made by the beginning of May.
But opponents, including Labour’s Alexandra Kemp, Liberal Democrat Tim East, Conservative John Dobson, the Green Party’s Andrew Boswell and independent member Richard Bird, say the revised project plan for the plant, which was approved by the council last October, allows for the costs of termination to rise by £5 million for every year, or £400,000 every month, that the scheme remains in limbo.
Mr Coke said that, while it was “horrendous” to have to pay such a large amount in compensation to the contractor, it was “better to knock it on the head” now.
And, following last month’s statement on the claimed lower cost of alternative treatment programmes, he called on West Norfolk Council to share information on their arrangement with the Material Works consortium, ahead of a vote he believes the anti-incinerator lobby would have every chance of winning.
Supporters of that project say it would almost halve the cost of dealing with Norfolk’s waste if three or four of its plants were built around the county.
He said: “If they do have £100 million, they have to be taken very seriously. If we had three or four of their plants around Norfolk, we would have a huge saving very quickly.”
He plans to hold talks with the council’s leader, George Nobbs, and chairman, Hilary Cox, on the subject this week.
And he added: “It is absolutely essential that this decision is taken by the Full Council and not through an exclusive Cabinet resolution, nor under powers delegated to the authority.”