“THE incinerator contract is a very bad deal for taxpayers”. That’s the message in Community R4C’s report they presented to Gloucestershire County Council’s (GCC) external auditor, Grant Thornton.

Community R4C has obtained pro-bono legal help from a barrister, through the Environmental Law Foundation, to put together this legal request to Grant Thornton.

After undertaking a thorough analysis of the incinerator contract, Community R4C’s expert consultant discovered that instead of saving the county council millions, as claimed by both officers and councillors, it will actually cost millions more.

Co-founder of Community R4C, Tom Jarman said: “By cancelling the contract and using available alternatives, the council would save £4.7 million a year with every indication that these savings could increase.”

GCC firmly deny these reports and argue that the incinerator will save taxpayers over £100m. 

Specific details of the contract were finally revealed a few weeks ago after a Freedom of Information Tribunal Judge ruled that the county council had been wrong to keep them secret.

Although GCC used a Government-approved template to draw up the contract, there are unique added details which makes this contract such poor value for money.

“The price that the council has committed to pay per tonne of waste is nearly 50% higher than at existing neighbouring facilities in Avonmouth and Cardiff where they have spare capacity to take our waste right now,” said Tom.

“Cancellation costs could be met through committed budgets and the county council would then be saving at least £4.7m a year to pay for our schools and adult social care, rather than throwing away money to burn in the incinerator."

At last week’s launch of the report, actor Jeremy Irons highlighted the damage that the Javelin Park incinerator would do to the environment, calling for GCC to cancel the contract.

He said: “There are great risks with this incineration technology, toxic risks to livestock, land, livelihoods of farmers, to our health and the health of our children and our children’s children.”

Community R4C also handed in a copy of their complaint to GCC urging councillors and officers to read the report and judge the value for money by themselves.

They have also pleaded with voters in May’s county council elections to ask their candidates if they would take action to save £4.7 million a year if elected.

Ray Theodoulou, Deputy Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, responded to Community R4C’s report.

He said: “The County Council’s auditors reviewed the Javelin Park project in 2013 and 2016, and raised no concern. “Those reports are published in full on the council’s website.

R4C did not bid for the Javelin Park contract, nor have they bid for any other contract, anywhere in the country, that we are aware of, nor do they have a site, planning permission or a license for their technology.

“Some of the alternative providers they mention did submit bids, and were more expensive and less environmentally friendly than the approach we have taken. “The Javelin Park plant will save taxpayers over £100m, cut carbon emissions, and support our objective of 70% recycling across our county.”