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Plug may be pulled on Project Transform PFI

Councillors in Coventry have recommended that the plug be pulled on the controversial Project Transform waste PFI.

The plan was to build a £1bn energy from waste (EfW) incinerator in Coventry as part of a joint waste PFI between Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

However, a report by engineering experts commissioned by the council’s cabinet, has confirmed that Coventry’s current incinerator, based at Whitley, can operate safely until 2040, giving it another 30 years of life.

As a result, the council has said it is no longer prepared to spend the money on the PFI, which has faced criticism over cost, and is to recommend pulling the plug on the project.

This recommendation will have to be approved by the full council on October 19 but anti-incineration activists are confident this is the end for the project.

Campaigner Keith Kondakor, who has been involved in opposing the PFI since its inception, told MRW: “This is really good news, not just because we have stopped them [the council] wasting all that money, but also because we can now look at doing much better things around recycling and composting in this area with some of the money that has been saved.

“The hope is that the council will now be able to look at implementing a food waste collection and building an anaerobic digestion plant instead.”

Commenting on the engineers’ report, Councillor Harvard said: “It was important to review the scheme, because it was clear we needed to take a good look at the alternatives to replacing the plant with a new, larger, expensive PFI funded energy from waste plant.

“Now the engineers’ report has confirmed that the existing plant is fit for purpose for the next 30 years, as long as we continue to maintain it properly. In these challenging economic times I’m pleased we are able to recommend pulling the plug on the project.”

Kondakor added: “The analogy I like to use is that the current incinerator is like an old car. It’s probably not the most efficient but at least it’s all paid for. Also, as residual waste arisings fall, the need for a large capacity incinerator is reduced.”

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