Gloucester incinerator moves a step closer
Javelin Park is a step closer to being the solution to the county's landfill problem – and Shire Hall can't rule out putting an incinerator there.
Ten bidders who put forward 13 sites to get rid of thousands of tonnes of household waste have been whittled down to four by Gloucestershire County Council – and the site it owns on the edge of Gloucester is favoured by all four. Next week the council is expected to invite them to submit detailed ideas in 2010. Their names and the technologies they would use are secret at the moment to protect commercial confidentiality – but incineration has not been ruled out.
"All the bidders that have come forward are indicating that Javelin Park would be a preferred site for the facilities they are proposing," said Councillor Stan Waddington (Conservative, Nailsworth and Minchinhampton), lead cabinet member for waste.
"That's a long way from saying something will be there. It's only an outline bid. We have got to decide which ones go forward. That may or may not fit the site. I hope it does: we did identify it as a good site for waste."
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There is huge opposition to the prospect of a waste incinerator. To win £92 million-worth of private finance initiative credits, GCC paid £7.4million for Javelin Park.
That angered residents and parish councils, who saw it as another step closer a waste burner.
Haresfield parish councillor David Purchase said the county council has made its mind up already.
"This is no big surprise," said Mr Purchase, who is also a member of GlosVAIN – a partnership of 12 councils opposed to an incinerator at Javelin Park.
"It's what the county council has wanted for the past couple of years – they have not been open with the public and kept them informed.
"The fact that Javelin Park was in the list and incineration is still in there means you don't have to be a genius to work out what is going to happen."
Gloucester Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda said: "I think they have already made their minds up.
"It will be a Gloucester location they will dump this on. I suspect that after the General Election is over they will probably focus on incineration but until then play their cards close to their chests."
Councillor Jeremy Hilton (Westgate), Liberal Democrat group leader said yesterday: "We are deeply concerned the Conservatives are hell-bent on building a massive waste incinerator.
"The council should back-off on their determination to incinerate people's waste and look instead at a carbon neutral process for dealing with our waste rather than simply burning rubbish."
The council says incineration is not inevitable, as the proposed solutions include a mix of different technologies and in some cases involve final processing outside of Gloucestershire.
"The big hurdle is getting through the planning process – it may fail there," said Mr Waddington, of the Javelin Park site. "Incineration is a technology that is certainly still in, but it's not the only technology."
Four of the 13 sites proposed were at Wingmoor Farm near Bishop's Cleeve.
"We will not be rejoicing if Javelin Park is chosen for an incinerator," said Barbara Farmer, spokeswoman for Bishop's Cleeve-based Safety in Waste and Rubbish Disposal (SWARD).
"Unless incineration is off the agenda, any site is under threat."
The council cabinet is expected to approve four bidders' submissions next Wednesday.
Gloucestershire buried about 170,000 tonnes of household waste in 2008-2009 and the council expects a landfill tax bill of £6.6 million this financial year.
Landfill tax is currently £40 for every tonne of waste and is set to increase 20 per cent next year because the government is imposing heavy penalties and taxes.
This means councils are looking to find more environmentally friendly and cost effective ways of dealing with rubbish.