"Incinerator consultants have vested interest in waste firm" - claim dismissed by council bosses
CLAIMS that consultants working on Gloucestershire's incinerator plans have a vested interest in a waste firm have been dismissed by council bosses.
Gloucestershire County Council wants to spend £500 million on a new energy-from-waste plant in Haresfield.
It would deal with the county's residual waste.
But they took on consultants BPP to help advise their planners on the controversial burner.
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A Private Eye investigation has claimed that BPP's chief David Payne is also a director at Energy Gap Ltd, whose chief executive Keith Riley is also a former managing director for technology at Veolia, one of the country's biggest incinerator firms.
But the claims were quickly dismissed by Gloucestershire County Council.
A spokeswoman for the council said: "There is no conflict of interest here and there's several inaccuracies in the article in question.
"David Payne is not the managing director or in charge of BPP – he is one of three equal partners.
"Keith Riley is not the managing director of Veolia, in fact he retired in July 2012, several months before BPP was appointed.
"BPP Consulting is a firm of planning experts with significant experience in waste management and environmental applications. We employed them specifically to review the work we're doing and make sure everything is done properly.
"Had there been any concerns regarding a conflict of interest, these would have been dealt with as a normal part of the contract negotiations."
But the claims are enough to spark further criticism among anti-incinerator lobbyists in the campaign group Glosvain.
Chairman Sue Oppenheimer said: "How can we trust the council to make a fair decision, when the consultancy making the recommendation has clear links with the incinerator industry?
"This is another nail in the coffin for this ill-conceived project."
Urbaser Balfour Beatty, the firm tasked with building the incinerator, did not want to comment on the issue.
Their planning application is due to be decided upon next month by councillors.