The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party County Councillor for Stroud Central is to call for all elected members of the county council to know the full range of costs that would be incurred if the decision was taken to cancel the current contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty for the provision of a residual waste treatment facility.
The request for this information will be made at the next County Council meeting on the 10thSeptember 2014 ahead of the Secretary of State Eric Pickles making the final decision over the fate of Gloucestershire’s ‘Energy for Waste’ incinerator at Javelin Park.
The authority had already spent over £3 million of taxpayer’s money in pre-preparation work prior to the council’s planning committee voting unanimously to reject the proposed incinerator back in March 2013.
Urbaser Balfour Beatty’s announcement that they would appeal against the planning committee’s decision last summer has added further costs to the taxpayer estimated at £346,000 with a further contingency budget of £100,000 set aside by the council.
Cllr. Lunnon (Green: Stroud Central) said: “Enough is enough – For too long we’ve been left in the dark with regards to the costs involved with cancelling the contract.
“Knowledge of the cancellation costs and how they may be increasing the longer we delay, is essential to understanding if the contract is still value for money.
“We cannot be custodians of tax-payers money without knowledge of the consequences of the cabinet's financial decisions."
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Hilton (LD: Kingsholm and Wotton) said: “Tearing up the incinerator contract is likely to cost millions, but how many millions?
“This information ought to me known and made available for elected members of this council in order that one can come to an informed decision over the financial future of such an incinerator.
“A Lib Dem/Green proposal at the first annual meeting of the new Council back in May 2013 successfully established a cross party working group to come up with a “Plan B” solution to the county’s waste problem should the incinerator contract with UBB fail.
“The work of this group is nearing its completion and we therefore also request at September’s council meeting for the final report to be published in the public domain unabridged”.
1 – The motion to be debated at full council on Wednesday 10th September reads as follows:
Motion: GCC's Residual Waste Contract with UBB
a) That this Council be given the penalty cost, or range of costs that would be incurred if this council took the decision to cancel its current contract with UBB for the provision of a residual waste treatment facility. That the costs be made available to all councillors unredacted.
b) That the economic costs of the contract with UBB be reviewed, as DEFRA are now predicting stable waste arising not growth until 2020 (not the 3% estimate used by the project team) and landfill tax has been capped with no indication of future year on year increases. That the subsequent report, estimates, assumptions and financial calculations used be made available to all councillors unredacted.
c) That council notes the establishment of the Plan B working group and requests that its final report is published in full and in the public domain when it is due to be completed in September of this year.
Proposed by Cllr. Sarah Lunnon
Seconded by Cllr. Jeremy Hilton