It is very concerning to read reports in local press this week that the proposed incinerator could cost £1 billion. So please will you support financial scrutiny of the contract and incinerator proposal, for the following reasons:-
Initial costs of Worcester Royal Hospital PFI have now increased almost 10 fold from around £83 million to over £850 million as reported in the Worcester News. Clearly this could also be the case with the proposed incinerator.
However the difference is that, will tax payers of Hereford and Worcestershire have to pay for this, as opposed to general taxation used by central government to pay for hospitals?
The financing of this proposed incinerator appears to not be transparent and if the business case is available why is it not in the public domain?
Defra does not have a copy of the contract or the final business case, but pays approximately £4 million per annum to the councils for the PFI waste contract. How can they be sure that the councils are obtaining value for money?
Are cost comparisons to alternative technology used by other councils are available.
The original contract has all financial data redacted.
Councils in other areas are paid for their recycling, but are Worcestershire and Herefordshire County Councils charged a larger supplement the more they recycle?
Does the contractor keep all profit from selling recycled materials, whilst the tax payer pays for the recycling facilities?
Food waste is collected and treated by anaerobic digestion much more cheaply in other areas, and is more costly to landfill. Why is this not being pursued for local taxpayers?
District councils have no say in how waste is treated or disposed of. Councils who are not locked in to long contracts, are free to go to tender to obtain competitive rates, and best value.
Existing over capacity in incinerators and falling waste levels makes it unlikely that the facility is even needed.
There needs to be a publicly available Options Appraisal that shows the costs for all options assessed by the Council. This needs to clearly show the initial costs and running costs and that all options have been looked at fairly (for example the option of an Autoclave was dismissed due to it being claimed that there was no use for the end product yet they are allowing the incinerator ash to be landfilled).
Local MPs Jesse Norman, Mark Garnier and Robin Walker sat on the Treasury Select Committee investigating PFI funding and raise serious concerns. With Worcestershire alone making £90 million of cuts to public services, perhaps they along with other local MPs could offer much more support, as their own constituents will be equally burdened with the heavy financial costs of this 25 year debt.
As our elected representative please support this request for full financial scrutiny and also raise the inequitable situation of small villages fighting huge mutli nationals with little chance of appeal.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW - SUGGESTIONS.
· Write to your MP to call for transparent financial scrutiny of the waste contract and the incinerator proposal, and for cost comparisons of other technology to be made public.
· Ask friends in other areas to write to other Worcestershire and Herefordshire MPs to support financial scrutiny ( As above)
· Help raise concerns about financial scrutiny with county and district councillors in both Hereford and Worcestershire.
· Contact the Audit Commission and ask for full transparent financial scrutiny of the contract and incinerator costs.
· Help to become part of a larger Hereford and Worcestershire group to put pressure on the Councils to be financially Transparent.
· Petition - Help gather signatures and give out leaflets to make other areas aware of the issues and that it is their problem too.