Legal Challenge Lodged on County’s Waste Incinerator Contract

September 21, 2012 6:05 PM

Tewkesbury Liberal DemocratsThe Liberal Democrat group on Gloucestershire County Council has submitted a legal challenge under the council's constitution after the Tory administration last week awarded Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) the contract for treating Gloucestershire's residual waste by incineration at the Javelin Park site.

The legal challenge known as a 'call-in' also supported by the Labour Group will halt the award of a 25 year contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) until the councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee can meet to review the process that led to the cabinet decision.

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:

"This council is taking a huge reputational and financial risk in awarding a 25 year contract to build a massive waste incinerator at Javelin Park costing £0.5 billion when there are clearly other alternatives.

"We all accept that continuing to land fill is no longer an option, but the Avonmouth's Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility is a viable, cost-effective and far better approach to waste disposal than burning.

"I am concerned that the Tory cabinet in signing this contract before planning permission has been determined and against public opinion is pushing this project to a point of no return."

The decision to award the contract went against the county's Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (EOSC) that recommended not to award the contract until after the Planning Committee made its decision with regard to planning permission.

The Liberal Democrat Lead Member for Economic Development & the Environment and EOSC member Cllr. Bill Crowther said:

"The council would be involved in paying considerable costs should the planning application be unsuccessful and the contract terminated.

"We strongly feel that means signing and awarding the contract before the planning committee has considered the planning application, indirectly puts undue and biased pressure on members of this council's planning committee to grant planning permission."

The cabinet presentation had stated that the disposal of Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) will be 'out of county', but the exact location has yet to be confirmed.

Cllr. Ceri Jones (LD, Bishop's Cleeve) said:

"I am appalled that the contractors are intending to dump the toxic 'fly ash' produced by the proposed incinerator in such a primitive way when there are more advanced technologies in place. Furthermore, there is still no certainty over the exact location for the disposal of these air pollution residues.

"At a previous meeting we were promised that it would not be dumped in Bishop's Cleeve, but the cabinet waste champion refused to confirm this guarantee during the cabinet meeting."