STROUD councillors have demanded that Gloucestershire County Council call a halt to plans for a £500 million mass burn incinerator at Javelin Park, amid widespread concerns over the health and environmental impact of the proposed facility.

Putting aside their political loyalties members of Stroud District Council united in opposition to the waste burner at a meeting last week, voting unanimously to object to the project.

Proposed by Cllr Geoff Wheeler (Dursley, Labour) and seconded by Cllr David Drew (Farmhill and Paganhill, Lab), the motion passed by councillors noted ‘wide-scale opposition to the plant within the district’ and accused GCC of a ‘lack of meaningful consultation with the local communities’.

It also urged GCC to undertake a full reassessment of the project and stated that there were ‘still unanswered doubts and uncertainties surrounding the construction of the plant’.

The motion – which comes a week after SDC’s development control committee raised nine points of objection to the incinerator plans – also hints at the authority taking legal action against GCC in the future to prevent the project from going ahead.

During the debate that preceded the vote last Thursday (April 26), councillors called into question the economic arguments for the incinerator, disputing claims by GCC that the incinerator would save £150 million over 25 years.

Cllr Philip Booth (Green, Stroud) said serious doubts lingered over the ‘whole financial basis for the incinerator’ because waste figures underpinning the business case for the facility had been overestimated.

Cllr Booth, who likened incineration to ‘stone-age technology’, said the plant was actually likely to cost county taxpayers millions.

He also said the future emergence of cleaner waste disposal technologies would be hindered in the county if GCC locked itself into a 25-year contract to incinerate waste.

Drawing parallels with the current situation, Mr Booth said that had GCC previously signed an agreement to send waste to landfill for the past 25 years then it would have been very difficult to roll out recycling schemes.

Making reference to fears that incinerator emissions could pose a threat to human health, Cllr Geoff Wheeler pointed to the fact that the Health Protection Agency has commissioned a new study looking at the numbers of child deaths around the facilities. Cllr Drew said the incinerator was the ‘biggest single issue that has faced the Stroud district’ in decades and that GCC had treated SDC with ‘contempt’ over it.

"What they are proposing to do is utterly opposed by this council," he said.

Cllr Ken Stephens (Eastington and Standish, Lab) said the incinerator was not a legacy he was willing to leave for his children.

"We can’t have it on our conscience," he declared.