The final bill taxpayers will face following the collapse of the Lynn incinerator contract remains unknown today, almost six months after councillors voted to halt the project.
Norfolk County Council chiefs remain in talks with Cory Wheelabrator over the compensation due to the contractor following the decision to terminate the agreement for the Saddlebow scheme in April.
But Tom McCabe, the authority’s director of environment, development and transport, said yesterday he could not give a final figure because that has not yet been agreed.
However, he is confident that a resolution can be reached by Christmas and without the need for further legal action.
It has previously been estimated that the county would have to pay around £34 million in compensation for the decision to terminate the contract.
But the council has been criticised for refusing to say how much it has paid out, after leader George Nobbs last month stated the authority had paid less than previously expected.
And North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said this week: “If the county council have negotiated a smaller figure, why don’t they tell us what it is if it’s such good news.”
But Mr McCabe said the leader had been referring to the amount paid up to that point.
He said: “I’m very clear we haven’t reached a final agreement and until we do we won’t know what the final bill is.”
Mr McCabe said he understood the frustrations felt over the lack of information available on the compensation, but insisted he was aiming to do the best possible deal for taxpayers.
He added: “It’s in both parties’ interests to finish this and enable both parties to move forward. It’s not a question of rolling over to buy a settlement.”
He estimates that around 80 per cent of the issues have been agreed and the current talks relate to areas where it is not clear if the council or Cory Wheelabrator should be liable for the costs.
He admitted there was a possibility that the issues could ultimately be settled in the courts, but added: “We have professional negotiations going on. I would hope we can avoid that.”