Cabinet backs £165m loan for incinerator

Ludlow Advertiser: An artists' impression of the Hartlebury incinerator An artists' impression of the Hartlebury incinerator

A CONTROVERSIAL mass-burning incinerator in Worcestershire is finally on the verge of becoming a reality - after politicians backed a £165m loan to get it off the ground.

Worcestershire County Council’s Conservative cabinet has endorsed a package to bring the massive rubbish building plant to Hartlebury which will handle 200,000 tonnes of waste.

The deal, which has been worked on since the 1990s, will see Worcestershire taxpayers fork out £125m of the loan, with the rest paid by Herefordshire households.

It was backed during a stormy meeting today, in which protestors blasted them with some of the most vociferous criticisms heard inside the council chamber in years.

But it was refuted by the cabinet, with leader Councillor Adrian Hardman insisting they could no longer “kick the can down the road”.

The deal now needs to go to full council for a final vote, and subject to ministerial sign off construction can start in spring for an early 2017 opening.

A report before the cabinet said dealing with all the with rubbish from the two counties will cost a staggering £1.65 billion by 2042, but unless efforts are made to tackle landfill it could top £2.1 billion.

Not pressing ahead with the actual plant will cost an extra £128m alone, partly due to serious fears the county’s landfill sites are forecast to be full by 2024.

At the start of the debate protestors took turns to attack the project, with some claiming there is still time to look at alternatives.

Rob Wilden, from Herefordshire and Worcestershire Action Group, said: “Councillors need to be reminded of their elected responsibility to serve their community.

“You must not take the easy option and vote according to your political leanings - that would show a distinct lack of moral fibre and a flagrant misuse of your elected responsibility.

“In two years time many of you will not be here - think about the legacy of debt you are leaving for those who follow you.

“How many times have I heard ‘this is what we inherited, it’s not our fault’.”

Fellow objector Bill Hopkins said: “My objection is based purely on cost - I put it to you that you are barking up the wrong tree.”

“I think it’s hugely expensive and it’s not going to do the job.”

Other protestors urged them to consider alternatives, saying it will discourage people to recycle at a time when other councils are getting paid to take it away.

But Councillor John Campion, cabinet member for commissioning and transformation said: “People can always say ‘things will change, if you wait longer you will get a better horse to back’, but this decision should have been taken a long time ago.

“I fully understand the fears of residents living by that site and the fear of the unknown.

“Ultimately, the case is proven in terms of affordability and there’s no political wrangling over this, indeed there’s been political unamity.”

“It’s the best option for taxpayers.”

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, added: “Standing still is something we cannot do.

"Landfill is running out, we’ve got planning permission for this, the only thing left was a financial package DEFRA and the Government is happy with.

“This model offers the council the best value for money and we can’t risk waiting to see what’s around the corner.

"The benefit to the whole county is something we cannot ignore.”

Councillor Marcus Hart, the cabinet member for health and well-being, insisted it was “the right decision for the people of Worcestershire” despite being swaying opinions, while Councillor John Smith, who is in charge of highways and transport, said “it is always possible to suggest there will be better systems” in 10 or 15 years.

The site will be run by West Mercia Waste, but when the existing contract signed in 1998 expires it will be handed back to the councils from 2023.

The facility is expected to be operational until 2042, and it will employ 45 people, with 250 jobs created during the three year construction process.

It will power electricity by connecting locally to the national grid.

It will sit on the Hartlebury Trading Estate, and has planning permission already.

Last year 362,73 tonnes of rubbish in the two counties was collected and nearly 200,000 tonnes buried in the ground, costing over £9.8m in taxes.

Comments (5)

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10:00pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Lumberjack says...

This is a joke. Waste cost will now double. Many councils have cheaper options which our council has deliberately not looked at.

The waste budget will now be ring fenced meaning further cuts elsewhere. This will mean further job lossess.

This is a cash cow for the private waste contractor at public cost.

Alternative cheaper options exist. I do not want the council to keep saying " do nothing is not an option" I want them to look for the best outcome and use sensible technology.


If you live within 20 miles you will be affected by the pollution. Time will tell whether the population's of Kidderminster and Bromsgrove suffer health impacts from the increased pollution
This is a joke. Waste cost will now double. Many councils have cheaper options which our council has deliberately not looked at. The waste budget will now be ring fenced meaning further cuts elsewhere. This will mean further job lossess. This is a cash cow for the private waste contractor at public cost. Alternative cheaper options exist. I do not want the council to keep saying " do nothing is not an option" I want them to look for the best outcome and use sensible technology. If you live within 20 miles you will be affected by the pollution. Time will tell whether the population's of Kidderminster and Bromsgrove suffer health impacts from the increased pollution Lumberjack

11:06pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Mrfade says...

A total farce from beginning to end. So all these cuts for bus services fire services, jobs etc. all to pay for a polluting burner we don't need.

Mad beyond words, but then what would you expect. I guess the opposition to oppose it no?
A total farce from beginning to end. So all these cuts for bus services fire services, jobs etc. all to pay for a polluting burner we don't need. Mad beyond words, but then what would you expect. I guess the opposition to oppose it no? Mrfade

11:38am Fri 13 Dec 13

PrivateSi says...

GOOD... We should be the world leader in Waster Incineration Power Generation with 2000 incinerators online by now - 1 for every other LANDFILL - You know, the ones leaching poison into the ground and atmosphere... The ones that CATCH FIRE every so often too...
GOOD... We should be the world leader in Waster Incineration Power Generation with 2000 incinerators online by now - 1 for every other LANDFILL - You know, the ones leaching poison into the ground and atmosphere... The ones that CATCH FIRE every so often too... PrivateSi

9:31pm Fri 13 Dec 13

F Bloggs says...

I contend :-

This energy from waste incinerator (without CHP) described by the latest report to cabinet as the being the last piece of the jigsaw finally delivering the long awaited original intention of the existing PFI contract. Its choice should have been validated to be the best value against alternative other suitably developed and viable technical options.

This should have been, but was not, done in accordance with Treasury Green book principles requiring all publically funded schemes to undertake, a comparative cost benefit analysis at feasibility option study stage examining suitably developed alternatives.

However Council wrongly adopted their preferred solution from their Annexe D report – this being the EFW with CHP solution preferred to other options based upon predominantly (93%) environmental ranking criteria influenced insignificantly (7%) by (incomplete cost and benefit absent) financial weighting.

The recommended solution therefore offered has no value driven basis to demonstrate its choice over alternative technology options available. This despite the report’s author’s statement directing it’s unsuitability for identifying a best solution Council inferred the first ranked EFW with CHP as a basis for making the preferred choice of solution.

Not having undertaken a comparative life cycle cost benefit cash flow assessment demonstrating the proposed incinerator as best value over alternatives as part of an appropriate option study, Councillors do not have a decision making tool and are not able to assure the Tax Payers of best value from their proposed solution.

Those responsible for this proposal cannot therefore assure Tax Payers the proposal offers best value to the public. Consequently the Councillors and Cabinet are not in a position discharge their responsibility and cannot with this solution assure delivery of a best value to the Tax Payers.

The latest report can only be considered to merely examine options for financing the EFW proposal vs the do nothing option - other options are inferred from generic costs and are not specific developed and feasible options.

The early option study had discounted and had not considered appropriately prominent recycling possibilities now delivering better value by more forward thinking Authorities. The solution promoted by the Local Government Association as offering better value over incineration. This being supported associated WRAP gate fees providing anecdotal evidence.

It had also discounted other technologies such as proven waste gasification processes used for CHP Power Generation Projects which are be taken forward on a number of commercial waste developments.

The EFW proposal was also non-compliant to the Authorities own 1st ranked option being absent of any delivered CHP application. Subsequently without justification taking forward the EFW only solution being deficient of CHP Heat revenue and enhanced ROC’s electricity payments –at a loss in additional potential value of around £7.5m pa (less second order costs).

The National Audit Office being concerned are investigating DEFRA’s part in promoting value this project and other EFW schemes and have stated in the last few days that they have by no means concluded their investigation. Any commitment decisions should wisely be pending its outcome.

Comments are invited
I contend :- This energy from waste incinerator (without CHP) described by the latest report to cabinet as the being the last piece of the jigsaw finally delivering the long awaited original intention of the existing PFI contract. Its choice should have been validated to be the best value against alternative other suitably developed and viable technical options. This should have been, but was not, done in accordance with Treasury Green book principles requiring all publically funded schemes to undertake, a comparative cost benefit analysis at feasibility option study stage examining suitably developed alternatives. However Council wrongly adopted their preferred solution from their Annexe D report – this being the EFW with CHP solution preferred to other options based upon predominantly (93%) environmental ranking criteria influenced insignificantly (7%) by (incomplete cost and benefit absent) financial weighting. The recommended solution therefore offered has no value driven basis to demonstrate its choice over alternative technology options available. This despite the report’s author’s statement directing it’s unsuitability for identifying a best solution Council inferred the first ranked EFW with CHP as a basis for making the preferred choice of solution. Not having undertaken a comparative life cycle cost benefit cash flow assessment demonstrating the proposed incinerator as best value over alternatives as part of an appropriate option study, Councillors do not have a decision making tool and are not able to assure the Tax Payers of best value from their proposed solution. Those responsible for this proposal cannot therefore assure Tax Payers the proposal offers best value to the public. Consequently the Councillors and Cabinet are not in a position discharge their responsibility and cannot with this solution assure delivery of a best value to the Tax Payers. The latest report can only be considered to merely examine options for financing the EFW proposal vs the do nothing option - other options are inferred from generic costs and are not specific developed and feasible options. The early option study had discounted and had not considered appropriately prominent recycling possibilities now delivering better value by more forward thinking Authorities. The solution promoted by the Local Government Association as offering better value over incineration. This being supported associated WRAP gate fees providing anecdotal evidence. It had also discounted other technologies such as proven waste gasification processes used for CHP Power Generation Projects which are be taken forward on a number of commercial waste developments. The EFW proposal was also non-compliant to the Authorities own 1st ranked option being absent of any delivered CHP application. Subsequently without justification taking forward the EFW only solution being deficient of CHP Heat revenue and enhanced ROC’s electricity payments –at a loss in additional potential value of around £7.5m pa (less second order costs). The National Audit Office being concerned are investigating DEFRA’s part in promoting value this project and other EFW schemes and have stated in the last few days that they have by no means concluded their investigation. Any commitment decisions should wisely be pending its outcome. Comments are invited F Bloggs

8:38am Sat 14 Dec 13

denon says...

Hurray
Throckmorton tip the end in site.

No more plagues of flies in Wyre Piddle and Hill and Moor, no more obnoxious smells from the tip

Well done to our liberal democrat County Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Tucker and her Consort the Mayor Of Pershore Councilor Charles Tucker whose green credentials are beyond dispute for getting the waste to energy plant going

We can now rejoice
Hurray Throckmorton tip the end in site. No more plagues of flies in Wyre Piddle and Hill and Moor, no more obnoxious smells from the tip Well done to our liberal democrat County Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Tucker and her Consort the Mayor Of Pershore Councilor Charles Tucker whose green credentials are beyond dispute for getting the waste to energy plant going We can now rejoice denon

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