INCINERATOR: Campaigners hit out at ‘show trial’
18th March 2011 - the following article is reproduced by kind permission of Lynn News
OPPONENTS of the proposed Lynn incinerator have challenged councillors to end what they have branded a “show trial” of the opposition to the scheme.
The call comes after three Conservative West Norfolk twin-hat councillors joined their political opponents in demanding more scrutiny of the Saddlebow scheme.
John Dobson, supported by colleagues Brian Long and Tony White, has made one of three calls for further examination of the decision to award a contract to Cory Wheelabrator, which will be considered by the Norfolk County Council cabinet scrutiny committee next Tuesday, March 22.
They said: “We believe that the decision was unconstitutional in that it was effectively a policy decision and cabinet is not a policy-making body.”
But independent environmental consultant Richard Burton said: “It remains to be seen whether Conservative councillors have sufficient integrity to reject cabinet’s decision or whether they will complete the final scene of a show trial and quash a democratic referendum.”
The ruling Conservative group has a clear majority, with 12 of the 17 committee members.
However, that includes Mr White, plus fellow twin-hat councillors Michael Langwade, who only revealed he was against the proposal last week, and Jean Mickleburgh, who has yet to comment publicly on the plan. Opposition parties have also tabled call-ins on the proposal.
Labour group leader George Nobbs claimed the decision was flawed because of the lack of opportunity given to opponents to reply to claims made against them.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats and Greens said ignoring the views expressed in the poll set a dangerous precedent for ignoring future public consultations.
They also claim the cabinet has failed to “categorically guarantee” there would not be an impact on public health and say the inclusion of a £20 million compensation clause in the contract may mean the planning committee could be influenced in favour of giving approval.
But county council chiefs have repeatedly said the plans are safe and offer a good value solution to the county’s waste problems.
A special West Norfolk council meeting was due to take place last night, after the Lynn News went to press, to consider their next move on the incinerator issue.
Meanwhile, the fight against the plans has been stepped up online as campaigners called for more support in order for the issue to be pursued by campaigning website 38 Degrees.
The campaign is currently ranked third on the site and support can be registered at http://tinyurl.com/6fnyqb2