Council to face court over Gloucester incinerator contract

Javelin Park incinerator under construction
Image caption The Javelin Park facility in Gloucester is near junction 12 of the M5

A community group is to take a council to court over a controversial contract for a £600m incinerator.

Community R4C believes the contract for the Javelin Park facility in Gloucester, near junction 12 of the M5, was unlawfully awarded.

Gloucestershire County Council revealed last month the project's cost had risen from £500m to £633m.

Community R4C said it does not represent good value and the contract should have been retendered.

The group, which filed a lawsuit with the High Court on Friday, said it had been working on a "much cheaper" waste processing plant and "would have bid for the contract".

The council said it was reviewing its response to R4C's legal claim.

'Value for money'

The authority signed a contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) for the scheme in 2013.

Last year it was told it must reveal some parts of a previously redacted report, released under Freedom of Information rules, which the authority had said was "commercially sensitive".

It released the details on 21 December, revealing it will cost £112 per tonne to burn the waste, which it said represented "value for money".

Community R4C's Tom Jarman said: "Keeping a 30% increase in cost secret from the public and its own audit committee is not the way we expect a public authority to conduct itself."

Sue Oppenheimer, from the group, added: "Our plant would have increased recycling, reduced pollution and would have been a better deal for the environment and the taxpayer."

Image caption The facility at Javelin Park has met with fierce opposition

A Gloucestershire County Council spokesman said: "The council ran a competitive process following procurement law to select a company to deal with the county's household waste that can't be reduced, reused or recycled."

Work on the project began in 2016 and the incinerator is due to begin operating in July.

When the plans were first proposed, the council said the incinerator would save local taxpayers £100m over 25 years and power 25,000 homes.

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