£500m Gloucestershire incinerator gets go-ahead
A £500MILLION incinerator to handle Gloucestershire's waste has come a huge step closer, despite huge opposition from the public.
As expected, Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet yesterday agreed to sign a contract on Wednesday with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) to build the waste burner at Javelin Park, near Haresfield, despite planning consent not yet being awarded.
Angry campaigners believe the planning process could be influenced if the council has agreed to pay the company's costs should permission not be granted.
Other councils in similar positions have waited until planning permission is granted before signing on the dotted line.
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Councillor Stan Waddington, the county's waste champion, said increasing landfill taxes and a drive to reach 60 per cent recycling by 2020 was the motivation behind the project, which was first conceived four years ago.
He said: "If we don't do this we would be faced with costs of up to £190 million over the next 25 years."
Planners are likely to make a decision by December, but are likely to come up against renewed opposition.
Concerns over the effects on public health are top of the agenda for protest group Glosvain, whose members spoke out at the meeting.
Chairman Sue Oppenheimer said: "I'm jolly angry. Over 1,000 people have objected to this, but have not been listened to."
Mum-of-two Charlotte Keyle, from Nailsworth, said: "I don't feel the health issues have been looked into properly. People are saying this over and over again, but it is always dismissed."
But Prof Roy Harrison, an air pollution expert from the University of Birmingham, said: "The available evidence is that there is no significant impact on health with a facility of this kind."
Javier Peiro, managing director of Urbaser Balfour Beatty, said: "We are delighted with the decision because it shows commitment from the council to the project.
"There are still some concerns from the public but we run a number of facilities like this and our experts can help to answer their questions over the coming months."
The waste-to-energy plant will have a capacity for 190,000 tonnes, an amount some feel is too big for the county's demands.
Martin Rudland, from Gloucester Friends of the Earth, said: "We cannot fulfil this level.
"There are all sorts of ways to deal with our waste and these should be investigated."