June 20 2013 Latest news:
by DAN GRIMMER
Thursday, June 28, 2012
All nine of Norfolk’s MPs have called for communities secretary Eric Pickles to take the final decision over whether an incinerator should be built in the county.
With the county council’s planning committee due to discuss tomorrow whether the controversial plant should be built at King’s Lynn, the collective approach by MPs is designed to put pressure on the government to take the final decision away from Norfolk.
Previously, six of the county’s MPs had publicly called for Mr Pickles to call-in the issue, but South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis and Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman have made it a full house.
In the letter, the MPs state: “Although it is obviously in Henry Bellingham’s constituency, and just on the edge of Elizabeth Truss’s, nevertheless we as Norfolk MPs feel that it very definitely should be ‘called-in’.
“Indeed, it is not just of local importance, but we do believe that it really does have regional and national implications as well.”
They raised concern that, with the incinerator planned to have a capacity of more than 250,000 tonnes a year, yet the council only supplying 170,000 tonnes of waste to it, waste could have to be imported from around the region.
The letter added: “As I am sure you are aware, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk carried out a local referendum which delivered a result of 92.68pc saying “No” on a 61.3pc turnout.
“This is obviously one of the most decisive results in British electoral history and surely another ground for it being ‘called-in’.”
Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, said: “It sends a pretty powerful signal that there is unanimity of view among the county’s MPs.”
Elizabeth Truss, Conservative MP for South West Norfolk, said: “Clearly, we want to see the proposal called in. I personally feel that there was a huge vote against it with the local referendum and local voices need to be heard.
“But in times when we have a large budget deficit, we have to be careful what we spend our money on, especially if local people do not want it, so I think it is a national issue too.”
With council officers recommending that the Willows Power and Recycling Plant is granted permission at tomorrow’s planning meeting, Mr Lamb said someone from outside the county should scrutinise the decision, assuming permission is granted.
If Mr Pickles does choose to call in the decision, it would mean there would need to be a public inquiry conducted by a planning inspector.