FOUR activists, arrested for obstructing the public highway last summer, have had the case against them dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Gail Bradbrook, Jojo Mehta, Joziet Khimba and Martin Stockwell Stockwell were arrested on August 22, 2017 as they campaigned for a clean alternative to Gloucestershire County Council’s incinerator.

The four protesters pleaded not guilty to the charge and eventually the case was discontinued due to a lack of evidence and public interest.

However, the activists believe that police were used by Urbaser Balfour Beaty (UBB) just so they could carry on with the work.

It is also clear from the papers that the police expected the protesters to plead guilty.

“If we had pleaded guilty, this misuse of police time and public money for private interests would have gone unnoticed, vindicating UBB's behaviour,” said Jojo.

“We were never obstructing the highway and they knew it. They were trying to hang anything on us to get us out of the way."

UBB vociferously denies these claims.

“We respect the rights to peaceful protests but have never discussed prosecution in this case with the police or CPS,” said a UBB spokesperson.

The protesters firmly believe their arrest was incorrect and want to focus on preventing the incinerator from coming into operation.

"It has been recognised that continuing to prosecute us was wrong and misguided and it is now time to recognise that an incinerator at Javelin Park is wrong and misguided,” said Gail.

“Now is the time to upcycle Javelin Park and turn it into something useful, a resources centre for the county where we could reuse and recycle rather than burn and destroy.

“The position of the site in the Severn Vale would enable such a centre to be powered by clean wind turbines rather than constructing a power source that is dirtier than coal”.

Gloucestershire County Council responded to the criticism regarding the incinerator by stating it will benefit the environment.

“The new energy from waste facility will allow us to treat the rubbish that currently goes to landfill in a clean and efficient way,” said Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member responsible for fire, planning and infrastructure.

“It will support our aim of 70% recycling across Gloucestershire, as well as reducing the county’s carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes a year – which is great news.

“On top of this, the facility will also save taxpayers £100 million over the next 25 years and generate enough clean electricity to power 25,000 homes.”