SSAIN questions the sanity of contract giving incinerator operator control of recycling
Simon Bacon, spokesperson for Sinfin, Spondon and all Against Incineration (SSAIN) has sent out the following press release:
Pre election statements and claims on incineration by Derby Conservative Party Leader Cllr Harvey Jennings were proven to be hollow and worthless on 17th June 2010 when Cabinet Member for Waste, Cllr Chris Poulter, agreed to reach financial closure on a billion pound waste disposal contract between Derby City and Derbyshire County Council and Resource Recovery Solutions (RRS) – the parent companies of RRS are United Utilities and Interserve PFI holdings.
The controversial 25+ year project would see household waste from across Derby and Derbyshire burnt in an incineration process at a site on Sinfin Lane Derby and would also see RRS taking control of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across Derby and Derbyshire.
The Sinfin Lane project was thrown out at planning, via a democratic process in December 2009 and is currently subject to a planning appeal by RRS.
According to Bacon:
This is a perverse twist, as the appeal costs are being funded by Derby City Council due to contractual agreements that tie the council to paying costs now, and to paying more costs later, should less than the agreed tonnage of waste be available due to falls in waste arisings and improvements in recycling and composting.
A Pre-Appeal Meeting recently held in Derby highlighted the weak case and witnesses the City Council propose to use in the appeal process. As both of the Council’s witnesses are connected to the same Council that has just agreed to reach financial closure on the waste contract SSAIN questions the City Council’s wish, drive and ability to fight this planning appeal which will take place in September 2010.
Pre election statements by Cllr Jennings suggested his Conservative group were against the funding of the RRS appeal and the construction of waste incineration plants in residential areas. Cllr Jennings’ Conservative Group have since entered power in Derby and have been quick to drive towards financial closure, highlighting the deception used in Derby in the local and general election in an attempt to win the votes of concerned Derby residents.
The ENERGOS technology proposed for the Sinfin Lane plant recently breached toxic dioxin levels by 8 times the legal waste incineration directive (WID) limits at the only ENERGOS UK plant on the Isle of Wight. This was only picked up at the plant when tests were carried out as ENERGOS plants do not use the constant dioxin monitoring technology which is now available. Such lack of monitoring has led to dioxin emissions into the environment of the Isle of Wight and there are fears that a similar threat would hang over the Derby facility were it ever to be built.
Putting the demon into demonstrator
ENERGOS have been quick to point out that their Isle of Wight plant is retrofitted into an old incineration plant. As this experimental “Frankenstein monster” of a plant gained DEFRA funding by being classed as new (“demonstrator”)technology, SSAIN is asking why ENERGOS would cut corners at their “showcase” UK demonstrator plant? Data from the Isle of Wight shows that the plant operated for just 119 days out of 242 due to shut downs.
A recent ENDS report examines the reasons why ENERGOS are struggling to gain backing from OFGEM regarding Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) making the proposal less appealing to potential financial backers of such unproven technology.
The contract to be signed by Derby City Council ties them into the following:
- Paying £25 million each from Derby City and Derbyshire County Councils toward the huge costs of the proposed incinerator’s construction
- Paying 90% of RRS’ planning appeal costs
- Paying 100% OF RRS’ Environmental Permit appeal costs
- Paying an undisclosed amount in compensation to RRS should their planning appeal fail
Bacon explains how on Thursday 17th June Derby City Council ignored public worry and concern, ignored the democratic process of planning and agreed to go forward towards financial closure:
The prospect of the supposed (but unproven) financial benefits of this contract to the council – dubious ROC payments and uncertain payments for the treatment of third party waste – have lured the council down the path to “burning damnation”. SSAIN and other local community organisations, including Derby and South Derbyshire Friends of the Earth, will help the people of Derby fight this unacceptable situation.
According to the local newspaper Lessons ‘need to be learned’ over waste deal controversy.
Conservatives in Derby, who are poised to sign a controversial waste deal committing the authority to potentially costly clauses, admit lessons need to be learned from the contract process. The leader of Derby City Council, Harvey Jennings, said the contract between Derbyshire County Council, the city council and Resource Recovery Solutions (RRS), to deal with Derbyshire’s waste for 27 years, is “ambiguous” in certain areas. And that could leave Derby City Council open to challenges and compensation payments.
Jennings attempted to shift the blame to the previous administration, telling reporters that:
If we had been in control we would have probably done things differently and may not have entered into a contract with the county and RRS.