Kent County Councillor Keith Ferrin, the Council’s cabinet member for environmental and waste services, has spoken out about the bad Waste PFI deal negotiated with WRG. Speaking candidly to the press, Cllr Ferrin said: “If I could get out of the long-term contract I have inherited I would do that”.
Kent Online quotes Cllr Ferris as saying:

“The people who thought they were being very clever and economical with people’s money ten years ago have produced a situation where the reverse is true, as KCC is now committed to a contract we can’t get out of. What seemed a very wise decision a very long time ago is a very stupid one today. At the time, people were saying nationally that this was the only way ahead. But if you make a prediction for 10 years’ time, the only thing you can be certain of is that it will be the wrong decision. The current closure of the incinerator at the moment is good news, as I have cheaper methods of disposal. Financially, it’s much better for the tax payers if Allington doesn’t work, in fact I’d quite like it. But it needs to either work all the time or stop completely – stopping and starting is what causes problems for local residents.”

Kent County Councillor Keith Ferrin

Kent County Councillor Keith Ferrin, Cabinet Member for Environmental and Waste Services

Mr Ferrin said he could not see a way out of the current dilemma, save for another waste disposal authority buying Kent’s contract and/or shutting down Kent’s incinerator – which has closed temporarily due to repeated complaints about smells and pests.

And Kent is not alone! According to a Times newspaper article: “With plastic processing advances in coming months, yoghurt pots, bags, food packaging and any plastic containers will be even more sought after as manufacturers recycle plastic to avoid buying oil. Newspapers and cardboard now sell for £100 a tonne, double what they were fetching early last year. Metal from cans was £80 a tonne at the start of 2007 and has risen to £200. A tonne of copper now sells for more than £3,000, compared with a tenth of that in 2002”.

The times reports that: “Such is the concern over the complicated waste contracts that the Audit Commission is looking at the length and cost of the deals as well as the financial risks. The value of raw materials and the inequity of council returns are being examined as part of the inquiry. It reports next month”.

UKWIN awaits the publication of the Audit Commission’s report.

And while you’re waiting, why not visit the BBC’s video of local Friends of the Earth members speaking out about the opportunity costs of the Kent County Council deal…

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