The Cory Wheelabrator energy from waste facility in King’s Lynn may be subject to an investigation into the cheapest way for Norfolk County Council to get out of its contract with the company.
Its committee has recommended that the council appoint an independent firm or QC to “identify ways how this council could extract itself from the Willows incinerator contract while keeping the cost of doing so as low as possible”.
Recently, Norfolk County Council commissioned a report into the costs of exiting the contract with Cory Wheelabrator and said that the £80 million to £90 million cost produced for Cornwall Council when considering its contract provides “a useful indication”.
The level of compensation that would be paid to Cory Wheelabrator was capped at £20.3 million in the contract with Norfolk County Council if planning permission were refused, but there would also be other costs to do with exchange rates and interest rates, and early repayment of the public inquiry costs.
However, if the County Council decided to withdraw from the contract, then this cap would not apply, and could lead to costs as high as those indicated by Cornwall Council.
As a result the Cabinet Scrutiny Committee has recommended that an independent firm or QC be appointed to find out the costing for each penalty scenario as laid out in this report. It also wants a report on the legal implications and another on the costs or saving associated with terminating the contract in order to pursue alternative solutions.
It also recommended the council appoint a QC to report on the circumstances that led to the council signing the original contract.
These recommendations will be discussed by the full council on 17 June.