CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for a huge incinerator at Javelin Park have made a last-ditch bid to stop the £500 million burner – by coming up with an alternative.

On Friday a High Court judge rejected Stroud District Council’s legal challenge against the government’s decision to grant permission for the incinerator to be built at the site in Haresfield.

This seemed to be the final battle in the war over the incinerator – but the hundreds of protesters who have fought against the burner refuse to give up.

They have revealed plans for a bio-mass centre on a site adjacent to Javelin Park, which they claim would be better for the environment than the incinerator planned by Urbaser Balfour Beatty.

With work on UBB’s incinerator not due to start until 2017, the campaigners believe there is still time for a dramatic change of plans.

Three days before the High Court’s decision was announced, campaigners were already revealing plans for a rival bio-mass centre, on a site adjacent to Javelin Park.

The Resource Recovery, Refining and Recycling Centre (R4C) would see around 70 per cent waste recycled, with the rest turned into biomass which can be sold for burning.

A vision for the centre, which has been backed by GlosVAIN, was put to around 100 people at a meeting at the Old Town Hall in Stroud last Tuesday.

Spearheading the challenge is Tom Jarman from Selsley, a director at Biocentre, a company specialising in the mechanical, biological and heat treatment of waste.

He is hoping the rival idea will persuade the county council to look at alternatives to incineration and scupper UBB’s current plans.

“There is simply no place in our beautiful county for crass incineration from the dark ages,” he said.

“The centre would be smaller, far better environmentally and cost the taxpayer one tenth that of the Javelin Park incinerator,” he explained.

“This icon alternative, driven by such a positive community, will harness waste as a resource to support the local economy, environment and people.

“We are taking advantage of modern technology here rather than the dinosaur 1960s-style solution of just burning everything."

Mr Jarman claims that costs of this plant would be around one tenth that of the waste burner, and the lower running costs would result in massive annual savings for the taxpayer.

By charging a lower fee, he hopes to encourage district councils, who have an obligation to collect waste but not to dispose of it, to bypass the county council and dispose of waste themselves.

Despite acknowledging the steep challenges facing the campaign, Mr Jarman remained optimistic about their chances.

“We will need a really powerful campaign of community backing behind this plan, to convince our councillors that it’s what we, their electorate, want and deserve,” he said.

Proposals for the R4C were greeted with optimism by opponents of the incinerator.

Chair of GlosVAIN, Sue Oppenheimer, pledged her full support for the biomass facility.

“Though we were all disappointed with the High Court’s decision, we are not at the end of the road yet,” she said, “We can still fight this.”

“GlosVAIN is committed to working closely with Mr Jarman, the local community and the district council to create a real alternative.

“His vision clearly outlines a viable, sustainable and far more environmentally-friendly alternative to the Javelin Park waste incinerator.

“The R4C will mean there is no on-site burning and cleaner emissions, meaning we can protect our beautiful Gloucestershire landscape.”

She added it was hoped that Stroud District Council (SDC) will be the first local authority to sign up to the biomass scheme, which could be operational by 2017.

SDC leader Geoff Wheeler said it was certainly possible that the council could use such a facility and that it was open to exploring all options.

“The case against adding more incineration capacity in the UK has become stronger and stronger,” he said.

“It would take a little work, and negotiation, as the county council has the ultimate say over waste disposal and fundamentally we would need their approval.”

Deputy GCC leader Ray Theodoulou said: “The county council is legally responsible for disposing or treating household waste in a clean and efficient way.

“This proposal would mean that Stroud council would pay twice to get rid of their waste.

“If this is something that Stroud wish to pursue it would need to be carefully considered to ensure they are following the law.”

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