April 1 2015 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Norfolk people have been listened to over the King’s Lynn incinerator, David Cameron has said as he defended the government’s role in the fiasco.
The Prime Minister said he was pleased with the recent decision to scrap the controversial project as there was “huge unrest and unpopularity”, but gave few assurances that a central government bail out would be coming Norfolk’s way.
Council leader George Nobbs has laid the blame for the failed project at the door of Eric Pickles, claiming the lack of decision had been a real game changer. But Mr Cameron leapt to his defence yesterday saying it was not fair.
He said that while Whitehall would consider a request for funding help to pay the multi-million pound break clause bill, it had been Norfolk County Council’s decision to go ahead and to then scrap it.
He refused to be drawn on whether the project should have been scrapped by the last Conservative county council administration in the aftermath of the overwhelming rejection of the plans in a 61pc turnout referendum, adding that is was not a matter for him to comment on.
“This decision has only been made very recently. I am pleased with the outcome because I know how hard people like Henry Bellingham worked to represent the views of local people. The government decision on the funding of the scheme was very clearly set out that this was no longer necessary for national needs and it was right not to make available that funding. We were very clear on that decision.
“I don’t think it is fair to criticise Eric Pickles’ department. In terms of planning you have to go through the proper processes, you have to follow every procedure of you get judicially reviewed. The point about this programme is there was huge unrest and unpopularity in Norfolk about it. It is right that people have listened to that.
“That is what happens in a democracy, we govern by consent. We make sure that people’s voices are heard.”
He said that while obviously the Department for Communities and Local Government would consider a request for help, in the end it was a decision, potentially taken by Norfolk County Council, to go ahead and it was also its decision not to go ahead.