Incinerator protesters storm Gloucester council offices

Protest at Shire Hall, Gloucester, against incinerator plan Image copyright Rising Up/Facebook
Image caption Protesters entered Shire Hall chanting "this is what democracy looks like"

Protesters have stormed council offices to demand work on a planned £500m waste incinerator is stopped.

Some of the 20 protesters daubed graffiti on Shire Hall in Gloucester in what they called an act of "civil disobedience".

Councillors later rejected calls to halt construction until the contract between developers and the county council had been investigated.

Protesters pledged more "direct action" until the contract was cancelled.

Work on the Javelin Park incinerator near Gloucester was set to begin after Gloucestershire County Council voted to allow Urbaser Balfour Beatty to build the plant in 2015.

A motion laid down by Labour councillor Lesley Williams for the full council meeting on Wednesday accused the contract as having been "plagued by mismanagement".

She called on the Conservative-led administration to halt all work on the incinerator site until the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had finished its investigation and commit to an "immediate independent review of the contract".

Image caption Protester Martin Large said he was compelled to take "non-violent direct action"
Image copyright Urbaser Balfour Beatty
Image caption The incinerator will be built on land at Javelin Park next to the M5 near Gloucester

Protesters gathered outside Shire Hall before the meeting, with members of the Rising Up group saying they "recognised people have to resort to civil disobedience".

Martin Large, from Stroud, said: "I asked a question last March about the benefits of the incinerator and the councillor said he did not need to reply.

"If he is unable to explain what the benefits are in a full council meeting, then I have to take non-violent direct action."

Police said no arrests were made.

Divided opinions

Councillors from across party lines have criticised the incinerator plans, describing the technology as out of date and likely to reduce to recycling rates.

Nigel Riglar, from the county council, insisted the new facility "saves taxpayers over £100m, makes enough clean electricity to power 25,000 homes and reduces carbon emissions by 40,000 tonnes".

A spokesperson for the CMA confirmed it is considering a complaint about the incinerator contract.

The incinerator is due to be operational in 2019.

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