A borough council has pledged to maintain its opposition to the controversial Norfolk incinerator project despite the threat of losing funding for a local housing scheme.
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council leader Nick Daubney told MRW he was “staggered” that Norfolk County Council was reviewing funding for the 155-home project in King’s Lynn in light of the government’s decision to withold support for the nearby incinerator.
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said she was withholding £91m in PFI credits for Cory Environmental’s £500m Willows Power and Recycling Facility in King’s Lynn due to the breadth of objections to the plans.
The county council then said its allocation to the Nar-Ouse Regeneration Area housing project in King’s Lynn was one of two projects subject to review pending Spelman’s final decision on the PFI credits.
Daubney said: “I was staggered to hear the [housing] funding is under review. It is a good project that would stimulate the local market and bring both parties a profit. It is unrelated to the incinerator.
“The county council is saying it needs to find money for the incinerator from other means. But why pick on West Norfolk rather than other councils? We think the tactics are wrong.”
He added: “We will maintain our opposition to the incinerator. The secretary of state is right to question how much support the project has - there is massive local opposition. Other technologies have been ignored.”
Campaign group Kings Lynn Without Incineration claimed the council was trying to persuade King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council – which would have benefitted from the housing cash – to drop its opposition to the incinerator.
Representative Mike Knights said: “No one will be under any misconception; the county council’s decision to withdraw funding from West Norfolk is a reprisal. It is designed to force the borough council to drop its opposition to the incinerator.”
A statement from Norfolk County Council said: “We have not withdrawn from the [housing] project. We have said we cannot commit to any further expenditure while we consider the financial implications to the council of the increased risk to our Waste Infrastructure credits (formerly PFI credits). However, we remain hopeful that the credits will be confirmed very shortly.”
In MRW last week, industry bodies backed the county’s claim that withholding PFI credits could impact negatively on other projects across the UK.