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Norfolk councillors plead again to Pickles over King's Lynn EfW plant

A cross-party coalition of Norfolk county councillors has urged communities secretary Eric Pickles to rule on an energy-from-waste (EfW) project, as the authority faces a possible £30m compensation bill.

Pickles was due to decide on whether to grant planning permission on or before 14 January, but has yet to make an announcement.

A letter signed by Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs (Lab), deputy leader James Joyce (Lib Dem) and environment chair Beverley Spratt (Con) urged Pickles to ‘put an end to the uncertainty’ over the King’s Lynn EfW project.

They also warned the delay could be seen as a being for “political reasons”.

The council signed a 25-year contract with the Cory Wheelabrator consortium to build and run the Willows Power and Recycling Centre at Saddlebow. In October Defra pulled its funding from the project, initially granted through waste infrastructure credits.

Norfolk County Council then voted to press ahead with the project using a redrafted plan.

The letter read: “Norfolk need to know whether we will have to pay approximately £30m in compensation to the contractors in the event of planning failure.”

It added: “This protracted delay is damaging both to council taxpayers and the public faith in democracy.”

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “A decision will be made by ministers in due course.

“At present, ministers are carefully considering all the evidence and detailed representations from a wide range of parties, following the receipt of the planning inspector’s report.”

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