Costs of incinerator plan "spiralled" after councillor officer quit project
COUNCIL bosses splashed out on £48,000 consultancy fees on their incinerator plans after a key member of their team quit because he objected to the project.
Planning officer Ben Gilpin was tasked with working on the £500million burner proposals but pulled out of the project at the eleventh hour because of his concerns.
Gloucestershire County Council was already using the firm BPP Consulting as a "critical friend" to the project – work that was going to cost around £10,000. But they then extended the remit of their work because of Mr Gilpin's withdrawal and the costs spiralled to £48,510.
It has also emerged the council did not put the consultancy contract out to tender – that is that they did not look for other potential firms to carry out the work cheaper. Instead they went straight for BPP, who were instrumental in getting approval for an incinerator in Oxfordshire. Anti-incineration campaign group Glosvain said the details, revealed through a Freedom of Information request, were "alarming".
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Ian Richins said: "The whole thing has been far too secretive and what we know now is quite alarming. We don't even really know the details of what BPP Consulting have been asked to do because the council say it is commercially sensitive but this is taxpayers' money they are using.
"All of this just adds to the fact we have no confidence in them when it comes to dealing with the planning application next year."
A council spokesperson said: "There doesn't need to be a tender process if the contract is less than £50,000. The cost increased because the case officer asked to be moved off the project."