INCINERATOR - Axe the burner now, Tory councillor demands
16th June 2013 - the following article is reproduced by kind permission of Lynn News
A leading critic of the Lynn incinerator has insisted he still wants a commitment to withdraw from the project even before the results of two independent reviews are known.
County councillors are set to debate the Saddlebow plan at a meeting in Norwich on Monday – a week after external examinations of the legal and financial implications of tearing up the deal were ordered.
But Conservative John Dobson, who represents the Dersingham division at County Hall, has tabled a new motion calling for the council to declare its intent to pull out of the agreement with Cory Wheelabrator immediately.
Although his proposal would only see the decision implemented after a ruling on the planning application was made, Mr Dobson said that action had to be taken following last month’s council elections, which had shown that all parties other than the Conservatives outside West Norfolk opposed the plant.
He added: “That needs to be, in my view, expressed in terms of stopping it now.”
In a separate motion, independent councillor Richard Bird has called for the authority to declare its opposition to the plant and to write to the government stating that officers had warned that withdrawal could trigger “unmanageable financial penalties.”
The North Coast councillor’s motion goes on: “This council requests central government help with finding a way out of the contract that minimises this council’s liabilities and also help with setting up an alternative waste strategy.”
Following this week’s cabinet meeting, where the decision to seek external examination was made, council leader George Nobbs said the reviews were necessary to ensure that councillors had full information before deciding what to do with the incinerator plan.
He said: “It is vital that independent reports are commissioned to ensure councillors are in possession of the fullest possible information before taking a final decision.”
But Mr Dobson claimed that Labour were “beginning to prevaricate” on the issue, adding: “They have smelled the money that goes with power.”
He also accused officers of circulating “propaganda” over the potential costs of withdrawal and said they should be working on drawing up alternative proposals.
Council officials have previously warned that axing the contract could leave taxpayers with a bill of up to £90 million, based on estimates of costs relating to a similar scheme in Cornwall.
But Mr Dobson said: “There’s no proof of that at all and, until the work is done that Cabinet have ordered, we don’t know what that will be.”