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Council leader under fire over Wisbech burner vote



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West Norfolk Council's leader has been accused of “stabbing” the authority “in the back” over controversial plans for an incinerator close to the borough's border.

The authority has previously voiced its opposition to plans for a burner on the edge of Wisbech, although Norfolk County Council declined to do so last month.

During a meeting yesterday, independent Tom Ryves asked the council’s Conservative leader Stuart Dark: “I want to enquire, why did you stab this council in the back, at county council?

The Wisbech incinerator would be twice the size of this one that MVV Environment built in Plymouth.
The Wisbech incinerator would be twice the size of this one that MVV Environment built in Plymouth.

“In February this year [at West Norfolk Council] you voted to oppose in principle an incinerator in Wisbech.

“At the county council when a similar motion was proposed [in September], you abstained.

“Can I ask, what changed?”

Tom Ryves (46626924)
Tom Ryves (46626924)

Mr Dark responded: “You need to look at the specifics of the motion and the timing of the motion.”

He said the county council had agreed it was too early to take a decision on the incinerator, because a planning application had not yet been submitted for it.

He added that county council leader Andrew Proctor had given “assurances in that meeting that the views of the people of west Norfolk would be taken into account at that time.”

“The county’s position was that we will respond or that officers would respond through the administration at the appropriate time,” said Mr Dark.

New West Norfolk Council leader Stuart Dark at his desk (49005738)
New West Norfolk Council leader Stuart Dark at his desk (49005738)

“So I felt, and it wasn’t different to my position around this here, that the appropriate thing to do at that moment, around that motion, was to wait, see whether the administration is true to its word and take the views of the west into account.”

But Alexandra Kemp said the county council need “to act quickly and stand by side, shoulder to shoulder with Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and of course ourselves, because when you see trouble looming down the hill, you don’t wait for it to come and roll over you, you just jump out of the way.”

She asked Mr Dark how he would “persuade the county cabinet that they should be voting with us, not against us?”

Mr Dark replied: “The fact of the matter of is, I will be doing everything I can to make the administration at the county do what they said they were going to… that they will take the views of the west into account.

“Now, we have been quite clear, and I think our residents have been quite clear, what the views of the west are.”



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