Paul Bayliss defends Sinfin waste plant protest as being 'in the past'
THE leader of Derby City Council is standing by his statement that a waste plant in Sinfin will have to go ahead, despite criticism he previously supported anti-incinerator campaigners.
Councillor Paul Bayliss told the Derby Telegraph that pulling out of a contract with Resource Recovery Solutions, which plans to build a waste site in Sinfin Lane, would bankrupt the city in legal damages.
He made the comments to explain why his party, though previously having spoken out against the proposed RRS plant, was now pressing ahead with it.
But the statements were questioned by Simon Bacon of anti-incinerator group SSAIN.
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He has e-mailed Mr Bayliss, saying: "I challenge you to prove that your claim is correct and further to advise who put the council in this position of risk if your claims are correct."
Mr Bayliss has since forwarded the group the letter he received from the council's monitoring officer, explaining that to withdraw from a contract with RRS would be "unlawful".
He said: "The reasons for the position we find ourselves in was outlined by the article in the Telegraph."
In that article, Mr Bayliss made it clear he had no option but to press ahead with the contract because the council would be sued and face huge legal damages at the hands of RRS if it reneged on the contract.
That contract will see RRS deal with the county's waste for the next 25 years.
As part of the deal, the company will build the plant in Sinfin Lane to heat waste, producing a gas which can then be burned to produce energy.
Mr Bacon said he felt the council's advisers were "scaremongering" the public.
He said: "I want Mr Bayliss to point to the specific areas of the contract where it says doing 'X' will cost the council so much.
"It is all right him making such claims about the cost but we need to see that for ourselves."
Mr Bacon also criticised Mr Bayliss for previously having joined campaigners on the steps of the Council House to protest about the waste site plans, but now pressing ahead with them when in power.
Mr Bayliss retorted that, while he had been pictured joining anti-incinerator protests, that was "in the past" and the circumstances surrounding Sinfin Lane had since changed.