LETTER: Letters Excel - Questioning county council

Yet again your paper excels itself for local political comment and readers’ letters.

There were two items I found most interesting. Lewis Strange’s comments that he receives £350 per week for a 35 hour week for being a County Councillor and Councillor Martin Hill’s comments on County Council Budget cuts and adjustments to the budget as a result of the incinerator coming on stream.

Firstly, if County Councillors receive £350 per week for doing what used to be a voluntary job why do they now expect volunteers to take over previously paid jobs to run the libraries. It seems wrong to me. Second, Martin Hill’s comments were even more interesting. Coun Hill suggests the incinerator will be helping to reduce budget pressures as a result of electricity sales. I would love to know the figures.

We do know £145,000,000 was spent on the incinerator and that money for the project was borrowed at 4.18% and that the capital was to be paid back over 25 years.

We also know there is a 30 year contract in place to supply 150,000 tons of black bin rubbish to the plant each year and we also know that last year the landfill tax was £72 per ton and that it rises in April to £80 per ton.

What we don’t know is how much the contractor is being paid per ton to run the plant or how much we council tax payers’ are benefitting by from the sale of electricity or how much rubbish is actually being collected.

But we can make some guesses. Given the current £72 per ton landfill tax and say a £25 per ton gate fee for a possible 120,000 tons of collected black bin waste the cost would be £11,640,000 per annum.

Using simple arithmetic the incinerator will cost us £15,610,000 per annum for the 150,000 ton contract at the same £25 gate fee.

So the County Council must be benefitting by well over £5,000,000 from the sale of electricity from the plant. Well done! Surely we should know. Such information would help me to put into perspective the cuts to the library service, the closing of the day centres for those 
with special needs and the isolation of Greetwell residents and others from Lincoln by the closing of Hawthorn Road in Cherry Willingham. Just to save £500,000 off the cost of the new bypass.

How are the two connected? Well in my simple mind if the County Council’s planners were less intransigent to design change & new ideas we could, like West Norfolk District Council, be paying nothing to get rid of our black bin waste, saving £Ms every year. With the road closure, one reader 
suggests one crossing south of the river could be changed from a bridge to a roundabout and a bridge built at Hawthorn Rd.

The final build costs of the scheme would be no different to that proposed and the several hundred plus parishioners from Cherry Willingham, Reepham and Fiskerton who were at a meeting in Reepham Village Hall 10 days ago would have been happy. Unfortunately the planning team were unwilling to burn the midnight oil to make the change. We council tax payers suffer. I just hope the Highways Inspector says, “yes the bypass is fine but only if there is a bridge at Hawthorn Road”

Chris Darcel

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