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Incinerator PFI decision delayed following opposition

The decision on the financing of a controversial incinerator project in Norfolk has been delayed in the face of public opposition.

Defra secretary of state Caroline Spelman has withheld release of credits for the £500m Willows Power and Recycling Facility on the outskirts of King’s Lynn because of concern about the “large volume of objections”.

A local government source told MRW  it “threw the whole of the government’s waste strategy into question” and other departments, including Communities and Local Government, were said to be concerned by the decision.

Norfolk County Council had secured provisional credits to help offset the cost of the project and was expecting confirmation of their final release based on a business case which the council said had “already met stringent Government value-for-money tests”.

The council has released a letter from Spelman saying she wanted more evidence the scheme met a criterion that: “Proposals should demonstrate that other relevant authorities, the public and interested parties have been consulted and that there is a broad consensus supporting a recognised long term waste management strategy which is reflected in the proposed solution”.

One source said the move followed pressure from local MPs, including Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham, who represents North West Norfolk.

Speaking from an official trip in Africa, Bellingham told MRW: “This is not the right technology for dealing with Norfolk’s waste. It’s a huge project that won’t just take the county’s waste but waste from across the region. I don’t think that any company can push something like this through without some support from local people.”

Cory Environmental teamed with US firm Wheelabrator to design, build, and operate the 268,000 tonne facility.

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