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Incinerator thrown out by councillors

By citizenmike  |  Posted: March 21, 2013

Artist's impression of incinerator plans at Javelin Park, Gloucester

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After eight years in the making, the Gloucestershire incinerator plans have been unanimously thrown out by councillors tonight.
The project culminated in what is ultimately the most controversial planning application in the county's history.
Reporter Mike Wilkinson brought live updates throughout the day here and at his Twitter @citizenmikew where you can find videos of all the reaction from the night's dramatic turn of events.
10.30pm: Well what a night! A result no one expected. All 18 councillors voted against the incinerator. The verdict could not have been clearer. On Friday we will be bringing you all the analysis from what has been a very long day. Questions will of course turn to the multi-million pound contract which Gloucestershire County Council signed with UBB for an incinerator they can't actually build. More tomorrow.
7.31pm: Meeting adjourned as councillors prepare a motion to refuse the plans. They will then have a recorded vote. The motion is led by Cllr Dennis Andrewartha and second by Sarah Lunnon. Others have already come out in support for it.
7.17pm: Cllr Dennis Andrewartha moves REFUSAL.. Now he cites a raft of policies to back his proposal
7.13pm: Another no likely from Gordon Shurmer and Dennis Andrewartha. Both are very critical of the plan.
7.08pm: Cllr Pam Tracey kicks off debate. She sounds like a no vote. she is unhappy about highway problems. Cllr Sarah Lunnon says we need a facility but the harm is too great. we could 'become Europe's dustman' as external waste is brught in to deal with low tonnage of waste from county.
6.55pm: Councillors will make their decision tonight no matter how long it takes.
6.28pm: Tory conty councillor Tony Blackburn speaks passionately against the burner as the local councillor. he has launched a blistering attack on the scheme which has grabbed everyone's attention.
6.04pm: Now time for the district councils to talk. We have Cheltenham councillor Roger Whyborn followed by Stroud's council officer Barry Wyatt.
5.54pm: Sue Oppenheimer reveals waste firm UBB is also promoting an MBT facility in Essex. Why can't we have one here then, she asks.
5.52pm: Anna Mozol, chairman of Quedgeley Parish Council, said: "There are much cheaper options than this £150million incinerator. A mechanical biological treatment facility costs £25million and a gasification plant costs £27million. This will cost us three times as much. Quedgeley residents are fearful for their health and their children's health. The incinerator is not needed. It is a white elephant."
5.34pm: Humphrey Cook, from Haresfield Parish Council, said: "This would completely and in appropriately destroy a historic landscape at a stroke. It is unbelievably ugly and uncompromisingly industrial in appearance."
5.28pm: Ian Butler, chairman of Hardwicke Parish Council, said: "The incinerator will be like five two-storey houses on top of each other. Who would want to buy a house under the shadow of this? it is a monolith that they cannot camouflage or hide. This is going to be the gateway to Gloucestershire. Do we really want that?"
5.21pm: We are nearing the end of councillor's questions but we still have parish councillor statements, district councillor statements and then the debate... Decision tonight looks very unlikely now.
5.02pm: Cllr Brian Thornton says we have 'no choice but to refuse' the plans
4.51pm: Cllr Brian Tipper asks the most straight forward question of the day: why is the chimney so high? the answer is so that the emissions can be adequately dispersed. He also wants reassurance that the plant will be secure and monitored to see that it is operated to a high degree.
4.02pm: Councillor Gordon Shurmer said: "We have nine days until a report from the NHS is released into health impacts and I think it is right that we wait for that before making a decision."
3.28pm: Environment Agency is 'satisfied' by low impact from particulates. The highest level would be just one per cent of the recommended amount.
3.23pm: Simon Holbrook, principle permit office for the Environment Agency, said: "Air pollution controls would be controlled through our permit. We have a draft permit which is being consulted on. Our view at present is that air pollution control residues would be controlled under our permit in line with the best available techniques."
3.18pm: Questions from concillors cming thick and fast. They are getting down to the nitty gritty of how the plant will ooerate.
2.50pm: Councillor Pam Tracey has raised concerns over noise. Response is that motorway noise from M5 would 'cancel out' noise from incinerator.
2.44pm: David Payne from BPP Consulting says historical assets such as the cathedral were taking into consideration but a problem was not identified.
2.40pm: Councillor Dennis Andrewartha says the impact on Gloucester Cathedral, which is of a similar height and can be seen from the Severn Vale, has not been considered, but council seem to be saying that it is out of the area they are concerned about in planning terms.
2.15pm: We will be getting under wa again shortly, with answers to the supplementary public questions that have been prepared by council workers in the last hour.
1.07pm: Lunch break until 2.05pm
1.04pm: Nick Roberts, representing UBB, hit back at claims that the technology was outdated. He said: "It will have the most proven and robust technology in the world. Twelve other plants in the UK use the same technology."
12.59pm: Nick Roberts, representing UBB, sets out the waste firm's plans: 40 new skilled jobs, save council £190million over 25 years and generate power for up to 25,000 homes.
12.55pm: : Stroud man Tom Jarman claims Stan Waddington, waste champion, visited his house privately & said MBT is good idea but too late!
12.49pm: Rob Gaffney, who lives just 50 metres from the site, says his human rights are being infringed because he will be left in the dark by the plant. He said: "You want to see the view I'm going to see from my house. I object to this on so many levels. I have a human right to enjoy my life peacefully. But I am going to lose all my daylight."
12,42pm: Costas Tofta, spokesperson for GlosVAIN, said: "We understand that Secretary of State Eric Pickles was very impressed with the mechanical biological treatment site at Avonmouth but this excellent technology will pass us by here in Gloucestershire."
12.37pm: Jan Bayley, former Cotswold district councillor, said: "The proposed incinerator is inflexible. It will operate for some 30 years but cannot adapt to changes in technology or legislation. It will be a blight on our landscape and will lock us into outdated technology."
12.29pm: Gerald Hartley, from Stroud and Gloucestershire Green Party, said: "We will have a waste treatment over capacity in the UK b 2016 just when this incinerator will be commissioned. It will probably not be needed."
12.23pm: Diana Shirley, spokesperson for Gloucestershire Against Incinerators, said: "Public concern is material planning consideration. It has led to the refusal of similar planning applications."
12.21pm: Ian Richens, of GlosVAIN, said: "Gloucestershire County Council do not give a jot about the future generations. This incinerator is too big and it is in the wrong place."
12.15pm: Mary Newton, from the Gloucestershire Friends of the Earth Network, said: "There is no shortage of landfill capacity in the county. The landfill targets set by the government are easy to meet. This incinerator is completely inflexible. Finding suitable waste to keep the incinerator operating is going to becoming increasingly difficult. This is a potentially disastrous legacy."
11.41am: David Payne says: "Overall the visual impact and the effect on the character of the landscape is considered contrary to several policies. However the waste core strategy provides for the benefits of the proposal to outweigh the harm or impact."
11.30am: David Payne, from BPP Consulting, says: "A large number of objections question the need for a facility of this size and type but the waste core strategy clearly identifies that need. This is a facility that is designed to manage an amount within the range of what is required."
11.16: BREAKING Eric Pickles has intervened at 11th hour. He says decision can't be published until he's decided whether to call in.
11.08am: Ian Butler, chairman of Hardwicke Parish Council, asks why other technologies like the MBT at Avonmouth, were never considered. The council says that members are only considering the plan before them.
11am: Council team admit that UBB are perfectly able to apply to vary conditions which limit waste to Gloucestershire waste only. Could we see other counties sending their waste to Glos one day?
10.50am: Meeting has resumed. Sue Oppenheimer has questioned whether there has been a 'fair and open process'. Flo Churchill, strategic development manager, said that everything has followed previously agreed waste plans.
10.31am: boos for the chairman as he refuses to apologise after Sue Oppenheimer says there hasn't been enough time to read through answers before asking supplementary questions. but a fellow councillor Dennis Andrewartha calls for 10 minutes to allow people extra time. 10 minute break granted.
10.26am: Rattling through the questions , already on no 14 with former MP David Drew asking about how people were made aware of today's meeting
10.20am: former industrial design consultant Richard Broakes-Carter says: "The technology is not state of the art and is likely to be superseded during its lifetime."
10.16am: Some 17 public questions are starting now with former qualified engineer John Pugh, who has worked in power generation, raising concerns about the claims that the burner will power 25,000 homes.
10.13am: Tory party whip councillor Phil Awford says he is 'insulted' by claims that as the whip he has tried to influence councillors votes. He and other councillors are declaring their interests and saying they will treat the plans with an open mind.
10.07: Various advisors are being introduced by Nigel Riglar, GCC commissioning director. They will all be on hand to offer advice to councillors. The controversial BPP consultants, who handled the Buckinghamshire incinerator, will be playing a big part in today's proceedings. Their involvement is 'by no means unusual' says Riglar. Campaigners were never happy about BPP involvement.
10.05am: Chairman councillor Martin Quaile has opened what is a 'very important' meeting. All 19 councillors are here. 
10am: The room is only half full but there's certainly a buzz in the air. The meeting is almost ready to begin. But I can reveal that it is going to be a long day, or two. The room is booked until 8pm but kicking out time will be 7.30pm my sources say. And the room is provisionally booked for a second day. 

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  • get2zero  |  March 22 2013, 7:54PM

    Here's where you'll find new research on MBT: Visit EcoCyle website, under "Special Reports and Research" link on the left, title: "What is the best option for managing leftover waste?"

    |   2
  • get2zero  |  March 22 2013, 7:51PM

    Congratulations from Canada! I hope this decision forges the way for other communities around the world that want to see investments in sustainable infrastructure that will stop burning valuable materials that can be recycled and composted, and move towards zero waste. See new research by leading waste management economists + professional recyclers presented at ZeroWaste Int'l Dialogue two days ago: http://tinyurl.com/agptnu2 **Kudos to the Gloucestershire Council for its insight and courage--stay the course!**

    |   1
  • sashlock123  |  March 22 2013, 12:29PM

    Complete farce!! Councilers are not and cannot be untouchable. Gloucestershire can ill afford to spend £15 million on a contract that has not got planning. These counciler should consider their own position. Stan Waddington should be the first to go, he has pushed and pushed this development and wasted good people of Gloucestershire's taxes.

  • tomttom  |  March 22 2013, 12:26PM

    Not all MBT processes are alike. The worst simply shred waste, which then needs to go to an incinerator or landfill. No one, including GCC, want this. The problem is that GCC too quickly dismissed all process with mechanical and biological treatment with the same brush. The best MBT - ones that include refining and cleaning of the materials before producing a high quality fuel are by far the best solution - the cheapest, and making the best use of our valuable resources, while doing enormous good to our local economy and environment. Their carbon footprint is many times better than an incinerator, cost £100M's less, fit in a small building and can be delivered quickly. this is what the council, and UBB should be moving on to. If you use an MBHT process (includes a flash drying and fuel refining stage) can produce a 90%+ biomass fuel which is recognised as the most sustainable biomass fuel, better than growing wood (then drying and chipping it) or biofuel crops - and far better than burning coal. We could use this type of fuel to cheaply heat (and electricity if CHP) local industry, eg a milk processing plant, or local leisure centre /swimming pools. Have a look at http://tinyurl.com/cz2q535 as an example.

    |   3
  • BishopHooper  |  March 22 2013, 11:04AM

    Stan Waddington is 'disappointed' and wasn't even present last night apparently? why is that? If he is the GCC 'Waste Champion' I think it is high time that he was replaced. Elections are coming up Stan... I'd be worried if I was you.

    |   4
  • timnash1010  |  March 22 2013, 10:43AM

    I wonder if the new motorway services has anything to do with this decision..........???

    |   -2
  • Ysedra  |  March 22 2013, 9:09AM

    That's not very nice, paterry68, but then again, I'm not sure all the protestors, some of whom were a truculent lot at the meeting yesterday, appreciate the consequences of turning down the proposal, or that it might be a pyrrhic victory. Pam Tracey, by the way, said a very Pam-ish thing when John Marjoram asked to pass a picture of the vale around the committee. She said they had already gone on visits and seen the vale from several viewpoints. That might be so, but they notably *didn't* take such a trip to Haresfield Beacon when they were *supposed* to on the day of the Javelin Park visit, last week, because they thought that standing around by a coach was a better use of their time. I couldn't use Firefox last night, so I put my thoughts here instead: http://tinyurl.com/cl6gqlt Didn't quite say what I wanted to say with the last bit. I didn't want the committee to feel forced into bowing to public pressure, but deferring a decision 'til after the county elections would definitely have been seen as more of a cop-out, and chancier because voters would assume an unpopular decision was being delayed anyway, and vote accordingly.

    |   3
  • Bonkim  |  March 22 2013, 8:04AM

    capital1978 - yes but that will allow the economics to be looked at carefully - there is a lot of misguided euphoria here from those that don't like energy from waste, and about MBT - which is just an intermediate process - the refuse derived fuel from MBT has to be burnt in an EFW or landfilled. The tragedy is that this has taken over eight years of council time, and huge expenditure over the years without getting anywhere, but raising emotional spiel from the antis. Management of the lowest grade within GlosCC.

    |   -6
  • Bonkim  |  March 22 2013, 8:03AM

    capital1978 - yes but that will allow the economics to be looked at carefully - there is a lot of misguided euphoria here from those that don't like energy from waste, and about MBT - which is just an intermediate process - the refuse derived fuel from MBT has to be burnt in an EFW or landfilled. The tragedy is that this has taken over eight years of council time, and huge expenditure over the years without getting anywhere, but raising emotional spiel from the antis. Management of the lowest grade within GlosCC.

    |   -7
  • Bonkim  |  March 22 2013, 8:01AM

    capital1978 - yes but that will allow the economics to be looked at carefully - there is a lot of misguided euphoria here from those that don't like energy from waste, and about MBT - which is just an intermediate process - the refuse derived fuel from MBT has to be burnt in an EFW or landfilled. The tragedy is that this has taken over eight years of council time, and huge expenditure over the years without getting anywhere, but raising emotional spiel from the antis. Management of the lowest grade within GlosCC.

    |   -6