AS with the Virgin train /West coast debacle it appears that there has been no proper risk assessment done for the proposed £1 billion waste incinerator proposed for Hartlebury.

The mainline franchise was scrapped because estimates of passenger numbers in 13 years were said to be wrong or mere guess work.

Yet our county council believes it can accurately estimate amounts of waste in 28 years’ time and will agree to pay for it whether it exists or not.

The council has not released the costs of the incinerator but Government figures show costs of processing waste in a new incinerator is well over £100 per tonne.

As recycling increases the plant’s financial viability will rely on selling spare capacity at a profit. But the market for waste is now highly competitive as alternative greener waste treatments undercut incinerator charges.

In fact the commercial and industrial ‘skip waste’, which the council hopes will take the place of municipal waste, is now actually sold for around £26 per tonne. This may result in local taxpayers having to subsidise waste and pollution from outside.

New waste legislation already in place or planned could require new infrastructure or expensive refits costing many millions of pounds. The incinerator will produce around 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, half of which is from burning plastics which could make us liable to proposed carbon or incinerator taxes.

The Government has just begun a study into the possible health effects on the unborn child, including still births, of families who live near incinerators. What mitigating measures has the council put in place if the link between emissions and health are proven when the research in published in 2014?

The council simply does not need to build an expensive inflexible incinerator. It can choose to process the different waste streams in a flexible modular way on shorter contracts.

It has yet to work with the districts who collect the waste to ensure cheaper overall costs.

Even the private train operators were obliged to insure against the risks of passenger numbers falling. The risk of falling amounts or value of waste will be paid for by further cuts in council budgets.

This is why we are calling for a halt to the process until all financial details are available and there is time to revisit a full options appraisal, overall costs and risk analysis.

LOUISE BROOKES Herefordshire & Worcestershire Action Group against Incinerator, Hartlebury