Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

ESA accuses Spelman over Norfolk EfW case

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has said the environment secretary’s intervention in the Norfolk incinerator case is a “deeply misguided step” with “damaging and far-reaching implications”.

The Willows Power and Recycling Centre near King’s Lynn, was confirmed as being included on Defra’s PFI provisional approval list following a Treasury review of value for money earlier this year.

But Caroline Spelman wrote to Norfolk County Council on 7 November saying she would be withholding the PFI credits until it had submitted more evidence to support the plan.

The ESA argued that the intervention could make it even more difficult for large waste projects to get funding from the banks.

Spelman listed the large volume of local opposition as a concern, as well as the fact that King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council withdrew their support from county’s waste management strategy. Cory Environmental and Wheelabrator Technologies were to build and operate the plant.

ESA director of policy Matthew Farrow (pictured) said: “This is a deeply misguided step.

“Barely a fortnight after the prime minister spoke of the urgent need to get infrastructure projects moving, Caroline Spelman has threatened to withhold the release of PFI credits from an important scheme that was fully in line with her own department’s Waste Review.

“The Government is trying to have it both ways. But at a time when banks will only finance waste management projects where the risks are manageable, this decision could have damaging and far-reaching implications.”

He acknowledged that no major infrastructure project received universal public support but argued that waste management companies had to feel confident that if a development was part of a coherent waste management strategy agreed by a local authority, used technology approved by the regulators and met planning requirements, then it would be able to proceed.

“If firms do not have this confidence, then the Government’s intention to divert waste out of landfill starts to look far-fetched. This also has implications across other parts of the Government, and one wonders what Spelman’s Cabinet colleagues will make of it.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • "The ESA argued that the intervention could make it even more difficult for large waste projects to get funding from the banks."

    It should be more difficult to secure funds for projects that are opposed by local residents - indeed this is at the heart of the Cooperative Bank's ethical investment policy.

    See: http://ukwin.org.uk/2009/03/11/ethical-coop-bank-says-no-to-incineration/

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • For "banks will only finance waste management projects where the risks are manageable" read: "banks will only finance waste management projects where the risks are transferred to the taxpayers".

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.