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Soaring cost of burning rubbish
CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for an incinerator for the two counties claim the set-up costs could rocket by another £46 million.
Independent assessors have published information revealing the plant in Hartlebury could cost at least £166 million to get off the ground. The figure has been rejected by Worcestershire County Council, which says it is confident a £120 million estimate will prove accurate.
Entec UK, an environmental consultancy, was given the task of drafting details on the likely cost for building the huge facility.
Documents supplied to County Hall, unearthed after a request under the Freedom of Information Act, state: “The capital cost for a facility of this size is estimated to be in the order of £166 million.”
It also goes on to say how the estimate could rise another 30 to 50 per cent on top of that.
The details also came with a separate guide on a number of “risks” surrounding the project, which included councils meeting recycling targets, thereby not producing enough waste, and costs rising during the lifetime of the plant.
The consultant’s report was sent to council chiefs back in 2009.
A spokesman for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Action Group said: “People need to face up to the huge risks associated with this.
“We have not seen a business plan and are very concerned about the costs and the problems that go with it – we need to know how much of our taxes are going into this.”
The county council has yet to publish a detailed business case for the scheme but is continuing to back the £120 million figure.
Councillor Anthony Blagg, the cabinet member for environment, said: “The figure referred to in the independent report dates back to 2009 – since then, as more details have been confirmed, the capital costs have been refined, leading to the current expected capital cost for the facility of £120 million. As with any major project of this kind there is always a managed risk.
“However, sitting back and doing nothing when it comes to reducing how much waste goes to landfill is not an option.”
The council would not say why the estimated costs have dropped.
Planning permission for the EnviRecover plant was granted by the Government last July.