CIWM has called Caroline Spelman’s decision to withhold confirmation of PFI credits to Norfolk for its EfW proposal “both a surprising and unwelcome step”.
It feared the environment secretary’s action could set a precedent for other infrastructure projects and create “a never-ending loop of appeal and consultation”.
The organisation said it understood that “the Norfolk Waste Strategy is complete, agreed and recent, and it is not immediately clear what further information or evidence would satisfy the Secretary of State that there is ‘wide support’ for the strategy”.
In a statement, CIWM said: “It is possible that this is no more than a last-minute check on due process. If, on the other hand, it is a demand for further consultation or approval of an already agreed strategy, we fear that this could set a precedent for almost any major infrastructure project.
“Clearly the secretary of state feels there are special circumstances pertaining to the Norfolk proposal. However, CIWM warns that this action runs the risk of creating a never-ending loop of appeal and consultation that could significantly damage the planning system and the PFI process in the future, and impact negatively on investment in the waste sector.”
The statement added that Spelman’s actions were “not the way” to deliver confidence in the planning system that was needed to deliver infrastructure.