Reject the Viridor incinerator bid

Incinerator chimney belching smoke

Photo: Chris Brown, Cardiff Friends of the Earth

The councillors of Caerphilly, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport, and Vale of Glamorgan are due in the next few days to vote on whether to accept Viridor's bid to burn council black bag waste in their incinerator.

Prosiect Gwyrdd have recommended the five councils spend your money on sending waste to fuel Viridor's dirty, expensive, and unhealthy incinerator. Please tell your councillor that this is not acceptable.

Take action

If you are a council resident, please email your councillor asking them in your own words to vote against selecting Viridor and making some (or all) of the following points.

Grave Misconduct Clause

Cardiff Council Officers have admitted that the building work at by Viridor at the Trident Park Site over the last 6 Months has been unlawful. Viridor rejected their requests for them to stop work.

Councillors are permitted under the Public Contract Regulations, s.23(4), “not to select” Viridor for this “grave misconduct”. Council officers should not be concealing this option from you and threatening a £3 million penalty if you do not select Viridor. It would be perfectly lawful for them to do so. For this reason no compensation claim could be made against the council.

Extra cost to the council from the Carbon Tax

A Carbon Tax is to be introduced in the next budget. This will start at £10-20 per tonne and is set to increase annually. This 15-30% extra cost is likely to fall on the council under the 'change in law' of s.75(vii). Costs due to legal changes to exclude plastics will be high, as they remove the incinerator's main fuel.

Over-estimating Waste Projections

Prosiect Gwyrdd wrongly says the waste projections meet Welsh Government targets. They ignore the target set in July for decreasing Municipal waste per person at 1.2% a year (30% over the next 25 years). They plan to limit recycling to 65% for 25 years in order to feed the incinerator. This is far below the expected maximum recycling level of 90%. Many councils in Europe are already achieving 80% recycling.

Over-Contracting for Waste in Future Years

The report wrongly says (s.19) there's flexibility to support 80% recycling (including ash). This requires not 56,056 tonnes, but 51,100 tonnes a year (Table D). Taking last year's waste tonnage and recycling tonnage as base and including the 1.2% per annum decrease would mean residual waste of about 30,000 tonnes in the later years of the contract. Binding the council to pay for a set amount of waste for 25 years with no clause for revising down the guaranteed minimum tonnage payment is irresponsible.

High court challenge to Viridor

Prosiect Gwyrdd wrongly claim there are no planning and permitting problems for Viridor. They are ignoring:

  • The High Court action started against the permit.
  • The flood risk at Trident Park site.
  • Viridor's false information on incinerator bottom ash being ‘inert’.

There are significant legal and environmental impediments. A proper assessment of these could give the Veolia bid a higher score than Viridor's bid.

‘Best Value’ for councils

Prosiect Gwyrdd claim the Viridor incinerator is best value. However this bid has never been compared to any other residual waste technology.

There has been no independent assessment from your Finance Officer or Auditor, or warnings about rushing to approve legal obligations and £250 million commitment without sufficient Councillor scrutiny.

The serious over-estimates of future waste tonnages have been referred to the Wales Audit Officer. It cannot be ‘best value’ to over-contract for waste for the next 25 years. Councillors owe it to their electors to require reliable independent scrutiny of this.