10 Dec 2009

Gloucestershire open to Judicial Review on waste?

Cllr Sarah Lunnon, Green District and County councillor, writes to local press (see below) about the risks the County are taking regarding a Judicial Review. Meanwhile Javelin Park has become one of four of the 13 sites to get through the next stage to become a waste site - the County will not rule out putting an incinerator there.

Photo from 'Re-cycling against Incineration Bike Ride' earlier in the year - it included several Green party members who cycled with the group from Tewkesbury to Javelin park through many of the proposed sites for waste facilities - sent to me courtesy of Gloucestershire-against-incinerators.

Gloucestershire County Council is currently deciding which process it is going to use to manage our waste. Due to increasing landfill tax it is becoming expensive to throw stuff into a handy big hole, as well as wasteful and polluting so we need to do something else.

Unfortunately doing something else is also expensive, and not only expensive but also sensitive. Many local communities fancy having a waste disposal site on their doorstep? As well as expensive and politically sensitive it is very complicated. Well I find it complicated, and I’ve have had the issues explained several times.

Gloucestershire’s waste is made up of stuff that can be recycled and stuff that can’t. Industry sources indicate that 80% of our waste is able to be recycled but GCC is aiming for 60% and calls this ambitious although several EU countries exceed this figure! Aside from the difficulties in really setting ambitious recycling targets the County Council has to manage the stuff that isn’t recycled. The technique that is chosen to do this will have to meet national and international criteria and the County Council has to demonstrate that it has undertaken meaningful consultation with those of us who have an interest in how our rubbish is managed. Anyone out there not interested the literally millions of pounds that is and will be spent on rubbish?

It is here that I have the trouble. Our County Council as the Authority that has to manage collected household waste has presented the results of stakeholder consultation it undertook as showing equal weighting given to cost, flexibility and environment. Perhaps, not surprisingly, my reading of the reports seems to demonstrate that environmental consideration emerge consistently higher. Sometimes a little bit higher sometimes shed loads (technical waste term). Our County Council also has to abide by EU and national CO2 reduction legislation. I find it really, really hard to understand how the County council is doing this when it hasn’t specified low CO2 technology. Worse still its planned selection process it actually reduces the weighting given to environmental considerationas the selection process for technologies nears its end.

I worry that on these two issues alone Gloucestershire County Council may be leaving itself wide open to critical Judicial Review, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds and potentially needing for a third time to go and find a rubbish strategy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Four companies have been selected to work on detailed proposals for a residual waste solution for Gloucestershire: Complete Circle- a consortia of John Laing, Keppel Seghers and United Utilities, Cory Environmental Management Ltd, Urbaser, Viridor. The core technologies that have come forward are mechanical biological treatment (MBT)/mechanical treatment and Energy from Waste (incineration) MBT commonly includes a range of technologies , including composting,anaerobic digestion and bio-drying. Whilst all bids include Javelin Park for some of the processes, in some cases final processing takes place out of Gloucestershire. Bidders are asked to submit final detailed plans by late spring 2010.