News‎ > ‎

GCC still pushing for incinerator!

posted 13 Nov 2013, 15:13 by GlosVAIN Campaign
In preparing the case to "robustly defend" it's rejection of the Javelin Park incinerator proposal in March at the 
upcoming Inquiry, GCC is actually still supporting an incinerator at Javelin Park.. 

"A load of old rubbish" you might say. We suggest you read on.

A triumph of common sense over political interests

The unanimous rejection of the incinerator plans by the County Council's Planning Committee in March 2013 was a sensational victory. For many of us it did something to restore some faith in objective decision making over political interests. And boy, faith had been at a low, with no shortage of cynicism

The Council's handling of the project had been highly controversial in the lead up to the Planning Meeting, with many aspects called into question by the public, opposition councilors and campaigners. Such aspects included the procurement process, the replacement of planning officers on the case, reports removed from the Council website, and the impression of a relentless party whip driving through the project at any cost..

A Day of Elation

Against expectation, the 21st March planning meeting saw Planning Committee members vote unanimously against the planned incinerator. Campaigners were elated. The verdict could not have been clearer. Whereas the Waste Disposal Authority (WDA) running the project had been utterly single-minded in pushing through the plans, the Planning Committee had demonstrated due impartiality, judged the case on its merits and threw it out.

Victory in a key battle had been secured, and we awaited the next move of the contractor, UBB, and the WDA. Meanwhile, we knew that, were UBB to lodge an appeal, it would mean the Council having to defend its rejection of the plans against UBB at an Inquiry. We also knew that the Council's folly in prematurely signing a contract with UBB meant that 
Gloucestershire's taxpayers would be funding not only the Council's defence at any Inquiry, but also much of UBB's own costs in trying to defeat them!!

At County Council meetings shortly after the County Council elections in May, it was stated that the Waste Planning Authority (WPA) would "robustly defend" the Planning Committee's decision. It was also agreed to set up a cross party "Plan B" committee to look at alternatives to the incinerator should UBB fail any attempt to Appeal, or decide not to. There had been a change of heart at the Council it seemed and the voices of Gloucestershire residents were finally being heard and heeded - loud and clear.

Writing on the Wall

The air was starting to smell sweeter, with the prospect of the giant waste incinerator seeming to be fading...or so one might have thought..

It was with disappointment therefore that we reported in October that the "Plan B" Committee's progress has been painfully slow, meetings closed to the public, and GlosVAIN’s offers of help rebuffed. There appeared to be little hope of real progress there.

Did GCC’s heart really remain with the incinerator project after all?

True Colours

Suspicions and doubt are one thing, but they are not evidence of an ongoing commitment to an incinerator. Let's just reflect for a minute on the insinuation that GCC may still be hankering after an incinerator... 

Didn't every single planning committee member vote against the proposal? 
    -Yes! 

Were not the WPA now to "robustly defend" the planning decision according to the council?
    -Reassuringly so!

Aren't GCC now spending our money defending this decision? 
    -Of course!

Shouldn't we therefore expect a cast iron case to be put forward by the WPA, rejecting outright UBB's continued attempts to foist an unwanted incinerator on Gloucestershire? 
    -Damn Right!

Erm....

..well why is it then that among the preparatory documents submitted so far by GCC/the WPA we see something rather quite disturbing..Something that actually provides the evidence that GCC are quietly selling us down the river. Quite an allegation. Yes, how else should we see it if our money is actually being spent, not "robustly defending" the hard won rejection, backed to the hilt by GCC at the Planning Committee, but instead putting forward a case that still promotes the building of an incinerator at Javelin Park!

Can this really be true? Surely just more sensationalism from a few never-say-die campaigners with too much time on their hands...(we wish!)

Well here are some quotes from GCC's recent "rebuttals" to arguments made by UBB (Go GCC!).. Highlighting is ours..

2.6      4.24.7. NR refers to the Cornwall case Inspector’s findings in respect of the costs of delay and the retendering process. While I deal with this later it is worth pointing out that we are advised by the WDA (see my Appendix I - in document GCC/1/C) that provided the technology remains the same the contractual arrangement with UBB can continue.

In other words, "we don't need to worry about the argument that scrapping the incinerator will make us liable for big costs in delay as we go back to the drawing board  - as long as we get an incinerator from UBB in some form, the contract is safeguarded and we won't incur extra costs"
 
2.19 5.7.2 – 5.7.11 NR assumes that the contract between WDA / UBB would need retendering as a consequence of another form of technology being introduced. I deal with this at my paragraphs 7.23 and 7.24 (GCC/1/A). The WPA is aware that this is a potential problem but has also confirmed combustion EfW as the preferred technology. The WPA’s response does not necessitate any retendering process but a revised (smaller scaled) submission. 

In other words "we rejected it, but our 'robust defence' consists of still wanting an incinerator, as long as it's a bit smaller." 

Back like a bad smell

So it's clear that GCC are still pursuing the incinerator. The County Planning Committee had paid due regard to the supposed need for this facility in deciding that it DID NOT override the harm to the environment.  The WPA are now ignoring this fact entirely to side with the WDA and the old council's rejected plans.

We're footing the bill for this travesty of a "robust defence" by GCC. We're also footing the bill for UBB to try and overturn the democratic decision of the Planning Committee. What a joke! It seems there is a "win-win" for GCC and UBB as long as Gloucestershire's taxpayers (mugs that we are) pay twice and "lose-lose". 

The air has all of a sudden turned stale as the familiar smell of deception and the prospect of the Javelin Park waste incinerator returns...

So, In him we trust - the Inspector that is - to see through all these machinations to the truth - it's the wrong solution for the local people, the environment and the tax payer.  Please come on the 19th November and make that known to the Inspector and donate what you can for GlosVAIN's costs!