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Hartlebury Incinerator meeting postponed for second time
6:00am Monday 30th September 2013 in Local
A MEETING to discuss the proposed £120 million Hartlebury Incinerator has been postponed for a second time.
Worcestershire County Council was set to hold a cabinet meting on Friday to discuss the proposals but the meeting has now been pushed back so bosses can explore additional funding options that have recently been suggested. It was originally due to be held on September 26.
A new date for the meeting, which was set to cover the financial aspects of the proposed Energy from Waste Plant at Hartlebury Trading Estate including an assessment of value for money, affordability and proposed funding options, has yet to be set.
Conservative Adrian Hardman, the county council's leader and cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: "Carrying on with the current practice of landfill is not only detrimental to our environment but we estimate by not changing this will cost the taxpayer about £100 million over the next 25 years.
"I am determined to protect our environment and importantly look after every penny in the public purse. I therefore want this project to be decided as soon as possible so we can move away from land filling our residual waste after recycling as much as we can.
"Due to the scale and long term nature of this initiative we have been working closely with central government.
"In view of their recent finance suggestions we must take as much time as we need to make sure we get it right for Worcestershire."
The news comes after a campaigner spoke out against the proposed plans at the European Parliament, claiming the public had been refused access to figures.
Jane Green, of Zero Waste Alliance UK, who has been working with campaigners from Herefordshire and Worcestershire Action Group
(HWAG), explained to the Parliament in Strasbourg why she believed plans
for the waste plant had broken EU law.
She said Worcestershire County Council had failed to give out financial details to residents, which meant people could not come forward with more greener options.
The county council said, however, that it had been keen to be as open and
transparent as possible throughout the planning application.
Ms Green told The Shuttle: “There have been no financial details given
whatsoever so there’s no way that people in the communities can put forward much greener, much more cost-effective options.
I think that the [county council] should have actively been telling people what the costs were and should actively been listening to their views.”
Local anti-incinerator campaigners fear the true cost of the plant will top
£1 billion over the lifetime of the 25-year contract with providers West
A county council spokesman said it was committed to getting the best
value for money for taxpayers, however.
“We are still in commercial negotiation at this stage and, therefore,
financial information relating to the overall cost of the Energy from
Waste facility is not yet able to be released,” he said. “As soon as we are
in a position to share this we will do so at the earliestpossible stage."
Conservative councillor Anthony Blagg, the authority’s cabinet member for environment, added: “Information has been continuously available on our website, together with frequently asked questions about the application and the planning application process.
“County council and cabinet meetings have been webcast and these
remain available to view from our website for a number of months.”
He added the proposal had been widely consultedon and information
disclosure requests had been dealt with “in line with the UK legislation,
including dealing with any complaints and our actions are subject to
appeal to the Information Commissioner.
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