Campaigners have waded into a planning inquiry for Gloucestershire’s incinerator by saying it is ‘an inappropriate project for an inappropriate site’.
The inquiry, being held at the Hallmark Hotel in Matson, heard yesterday campaign group GlosVAIN’s chairman Sue Oppenheimer argue against the £500million plans for an energy-from-waste plant at the Javelin Park site, near Haresfield and junction 12 of the M5.
In her evidence to the inquiry she said: “The evidence shows that a number of key drivers have resulted in proposals for an inappropriate project on an inappropriate site.”
She argued that it had become ‘politically untenable’ for councillors at Gloucestershire County Council to consider an alternative technology after they had ‘pinned their colours to incineration’.
She also said that the decision by the council to buy Javelin Park had been a mistake because it was ‘never going to be suitable’ for an energy-from-waste plant.
Secrecy has shrouded the plans for the plant, she also claimed. “Whilst genuine commercial confidentiality is necessary, the council has consistently hidden behind this excuse to hold back information that is not commercially sensitive from the public.
“The public perceived that ‘commercial confidentiality’ was used to cloak the project in secrecy.
“The project would not be the best technology, would be inappropriate for the site, and is designed to meet needs from several years ago, rather than needs now and in the future.”
Her evidence is set to be cross-examined by top lawyers from waste firm Urbaser Balfour Beatty at the inquiry which is expected to last until the end of January.
Waste management expert Simon Aumônier, giving evidence to support UBB’s case, said: “Government does not consider it appropriate for planning policy to set targets or limits on different technologies.
“Many technologies might potentially be used for the treatment of residual waste and its diversion from landfill. However, none is as widely applied in the market as energy-from-waste.
“The technology is proven and deliverable and is widely considered to be the most robust solution available for the recovery of residual municipal waste.
“Where other technologies have been proposed, they have frequently failed.”
A report will be published by planning inspector Brian Cook in April – but the ultimate decision will be made by communities secretary Eric Pickles.