Protesters say council's £25m waste plant bill is 'insulting to taxpayers'
PROTESTORS battling against plans for a waste plant in Sinfin say Derby City Council's decision to pay £25 million towards the building of the site was "an insult" to taxpayers.
The council's £25 million "capital contribution" to the plant will be matched by that from Derbyshire County Council.
But the campaigners say the county – a larger council – should pay the majority of the £50 million total, especially at a time of cuts.
The two authorities entered into an agreement with Resource Recovery Solutions in 2009 to deal with the county's waste for 27 years.
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A waste treatment plant in Sinfin Lane was intended to be a central part of this work.
The county council agreed to cover the majority of the liability and cost of the contract – 70% compared to Derby's 30%.
Now Simon Bacon, chairman of anti-incinerator group SSAIN, has said he cannot understand why this had been substituted for a 50/50 split when it came to the council's contributions to the building. He said: "The city council are 30% partners in the scheme.
"We believe it should only be paying 30% of the £50 million. At a time when the council is making cuts, to pay half is an insult to the public of Derby."
In total, 200,000 tonnes of waste would be brought to the plant each year from all over Derbyshire.
Mr Bacon said: "Homes in Derby wouldn't be contributing to 50% of the waste. We don't have 100,000 tonnes of rubbish to send. We only create 70,000 tonnes a year."
RRS is now a wholly-owned subsidiary firm of another waste company, Shanks. A spokeswoman for the firm said it was investing £130 million in the waste plant, on top of the £50 million from the councils.
Mick McLachlan, head of waste management at the city council, said: "The councils' capital contribution to the plant is £50 million – £25 million from each council. This figure hasn't changed. It has always been £50 million and there are no proposals to change it."
The plant will heat waste, producing a gas which can then be burned to create energy.
Derby City Council leader Paul Bayliss said the plant will "definitely" be built as not doing so would bankrupt the authority in legal fees and damages.
But SSAIN and Friends of the Earth have announced they are launching a High Court legal challenge against the building of the plant, scheduled for March.
As things stand, work on the site could begin in September this year.