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Cabinet ignores local concerns to request Revised Project Plan

CORNWALL Council’s Cabinet met on 10 February to discuss whether it should terminate its Waste Contract with SITA. This follows the acknowledgement that SITA could not meet deadlines within the Contract and the Council therefore
had the option to terminate or to ask SITA to bring forward a Revised Project Plan.

The Cabinet, with one abstention, voted to seek a Revised Project Plan from SITA.

Cllr Dick Cole was the first of five councillors who spoke against the proposal and called on the Cabinet to properly explore the option of termination. Cllr Cole was extremely critical of the officer report which was presented to the meeting and stated that it would be too expensive to terminate the Contract. He described the report as
“one-sided” and dismissed the claim that no alternative waste management facilities could be brought on stream until 2023 as incorrect. Cllr Cole also disagreed with the interpretation of planning policy as well as the claims about the costs of termination.

“In 2000, councillors were told that a single incinerator would cost £40 million. When the Contract was signed in 2006, this had risen to £96 million with a price
guarantee. With inflation, this increases to £113-117 million but, now that the price guarantee is no longer in place, costs have been estimated to be over £150 million.

“And now the same officer team is telling us that the termination of the Contract would cost £200 million. I simply cannot accept these figures.” Cllr Cole also reminded the Cabinet that due to the Contract, and associated procurement rules, the Revised Project Plan would still be based around a large incinerator in the China Clay Area. He told the meeting:
“I personally do not consider a revised plan for an incinerator in Mid Cornwall to be acceptable. I must ask the Cabinet whether an incinerator plant, such as that proposed for St Dennis, would be acceptable outside the village of Mullion or Feock or at Fowey, or somewhere on the Roseland.”

Cllr Cole, who is MK’s prospective parliamentary candidate for St Austell and Newquay, appealed to the Cabinet to look seriously at the option of ripping up the Contract.

“Please do not uncritically accept this report, but look seriously at the option to terminate the Contract and develop a more decentralised and more sustainable
solution for Cornwall.”

He also requested that Cornwall Council pro-actively seek out other companies and providers to come forward with alternatives to SITA’s plans for an incinerator. The Cabinet declined to make this formal commitment, but acknowledged that alternatives would still be explored
through the Waste Panel and other avenues.