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Campaigner in plea to council over incinerator bid
CAMPAIGNERS in Worcestershire have urged Worcester city councillors to intervene over controversial plans for an incinerator at Hartlebury.
Louise Brookes, of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Action Group, went to Worcester’s Guildhall to plead with politicians to fight the project.
In November, the county council is expected to sign a 25-year contract with Mercia Waste Management for a £120 million incinerator at Hartlebury tading estate.
The incinerator, which will take rubbish from the two counties and beyond, is being funded via a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), raising fears that the costs will spiral. Ms Brookes says the incinerator will be forced to handle too much rubbish from other parts of the country as it has a yearly capacity of 200,000 tonnes.
Speaking before the full council, she said: “Our fear is that the cost of the plant is likely to be in the region of £1 billion, plus life cycle maintenance costs for 25 years.
“Similar sites have proposed total costs of over £1 billion.
“Environmental legislation may add significantly to the costs of this contract.
“Incineration is the most expensive option for dealing with waste, averaging at over £70 per tonne more than alternatives – these have not been fully considered. Any shortfall in the 200,000 tonnes annual capacity will mean waste being accepted from outside the county areas.
“Herefordshire and Worcestershire does not produce this level of waste. Levels are falling.”
The incinerator has already been approved by the Government, which says the plant will generate electricity for up to 20,000 homes by treating waste.
Construction work is expected to start later this year and it could be complete by late 2015.
Councillor Anthony Blagg, the cabinet member responsible for waste at the county council, has said the figure of £120 million is “still an accurate one” and that the authority would manage the contract well.
County Hall chiefs said other incinerator costs have risen because machinery needs replacing over time, but this one will use state-of-the-art equipment.