SERIOUS doubts were cast over Gloucestershire County Council’s ability to run the proposed Javelin Park incinerator at a planning inquiry into the project today, Tuesday.
Stroud mayor Amanda Moriarty raised concerns about GCC’s ‘profligacy’ during her evidence in front of a packed out function room adjacent to the Hallmark hotel in Matson, where appeal proceedings are taking place.
Waste firm Urbaser Balfour Beatty saw its application for the incinerator unanimously rejected by GCC’s planning committee in March last year.
However, GCC had already signed a 25-year contract with UBB for the waste-disposal facility and will consequently have to cover a significant proportion of the company’s costs of appeal.
Speaking on behalf of Stroud Town Council, cllr Moriarty said: “There are financial considerations that cast into doubt the suitability of this incinerator.
“Surely the most financially efficient way of dealing with a project like this would have been to first obtain planning permission and then sign a contract for a facility that already had approval.
“Given GCC’s profligacy over this project, for example willing to risk £1million over the cost of an appeal, it could be that there will be similarly lax controls on overruns, future costs and charges for using the incinerator.
Councillor Moriarty also told the inquiry that Stroud Town Council would prefer a technology that maximised recycling.
“We are a town that hugely values all things Green, including aspirations for as local and sustainable an economy as possible,” she said.
“We actively support small local businesses at the heart of the town and we are of course home to the renewable energy company Ecotricity.
“Our Transition Stroud movement embraces many initiatives, including community agriculture in the Severn Vale, promotion of energy efficient homes and organic gardening.
“You will not be surprised to hear then that our preference for the processing of municipal waste would be a technology that maximises the recycling of materials, rather than incinerating them.
“We recognise that there needs to be a strategy about waste and our concerns are not about nimbyism but finding the best way to deal with an ongoing issue.”
The inquiry continues.