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Spelman offers talks with angry council

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman has offered further talks with Norfolk County Council over the decision to withhold PFI credits for the council’s incinerator scheme.

The £500m Willows Power and Recycling Facility on the outskirts of King’s Lynn, to be built and operated by Cory Environmental and Wheelabrator Technologies, has now been put on hold.

Spelman listed the large volume of local opposition as a concern, including King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council withdrawing their support from the county’s waste management strategy.

Bill Borrett

The move angered county council leaders. Cabinet member for environment and waste Bill Borrett (Con), left, who said the approach would “send shivers down the spine of all other authorities with major waste treatment proposals in the pipeline”.

Spelman has now written to county leader Derek Murphy (Con), saying : “I am happy to confirm the offer, made in preliminary exchanges between our officials, of discussions with Defra officials to explore what further evidence your council might usefully provide to inform the final decision whether to approve the final business case.”  

Environmental Services Association’s director of Policy, Matthew Farrow said: “Offering discussions between Defra officials and the council concerned is all very well, but it will not reassure the wider waste management industry, who remain deeply concerned.

“Caroline Spelman’s decision to withhold credits despite the Government’s previous support for the project will make it harder, not easier, for local authorities and waste management companies to deliver environmentally and economically sound solutions to residual waste management that meet the Government’s own objectives for waste policy.”  

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