Gloucestershire County Council has approved a contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty to build an energy-from-waste facility capable in a deal estimated to be worth £500m.
The plant, which would be built at Javelin Park near Haresfield, was given the go-ahead by the council’s cabinet as part of plans to divert 92% of residual household waste from landfill.
The deal had been on the back burner since the government removed the PFI credits in the 2010 spending review, which cancelled £92m of funding.
Urbaser Balfour Beatty is now expected to sign a 25-year contract. The new plant will be capable of generating electricity for 25,000 homes.
Director Javier Peiro said: “The proposed energy from waste facility at Javelin Park will play a vital role in meeting the real and pressing need for an alternative to landfill in Gloucestershire.
“The facility would prevent the equivalent annual greenhouse gas emissions of nearly a million cars, recover approximately 3,000 tonnes of metals each year for recycling, and increase Gloucestershire’s renewable energy production by over 50%.”
The council said the deal would save up to £190m over 25 years because of the rising costs of landfill and energy prices.
Councillor Stan Waddington, cabinet project champion for waste, said: “This decision follows on from cabinet’s decision in December last year and will now allow us to agree a formal contract. This deal is good value for Gloucestershire taxpayers and will help us deliver a clean, green and affordable solution to Gloucestershire’s rubbish.”
But the decision drew criticism from the county’s Lib Dem councillors. Jeremy Hilton said he was “deeply worried” by the cabinet’s actions: “This could put undue pressure on planning committee members to grant permission in order to avoid the severe financial liabilities the council would have to cover if the waste incinerator had to be cancelled.
“Cabinet should have deferred a decision on awarding the contract Urbaser Balfour Beatty until planning permission has been determined and also only once the Environment Agency has agreed an environmental permit for the waste incinerator.”