John Whitehouse

Retired County Councillor for Kenilworth Abbey Division Learn more

There is an alternative!

by John Whitehouse on 14 June, 2010

I’ve issued a press release today responding to a statement in last week’s local press by Cllr Alan Cockburn, the Conservative portfolio holder for the Environment on Warwickshire County Council. He had criticised the Liberal Democrats for opposing Project Transform, the giant incinerator project, without putting forward any alternative to this.

I said:

“It is not true that we opposed the project from the start, but what we have done all along is to ask hard and searching questions – something the Conservatives have failed to do. During the course of last year it became clear that the project was on the wrong track, and by early this year we decided to call for a complete halt. Sadly Warwickshire’s Conservative and Labour groups were not willing to support us then, but with the project’s future now under intense scrutiny by the new administrations in Coventry and Solihull it looks as though events might now overtake them. 

“We said the current project should be scrapped because it became clear that the planned new facility would be far too big and too expensive, and all the greener alternatives to incineration had already fallen by the wayside. 

“We called for the life of the current Coventry incinerator to be extended through refurbishment – something now under active consideration. The breathing space gained should be used to pursue waste minimisation and recycling policies more aggressively across the three partner authorities. 

“This would enable a new residual waste plant – which we agree will be needed eventually – to be planned and built to a longer timetable than the current project. We could take the time to get it right, and the opportunity to go for much greener technology options than incineration, with smaller more modular facilities. 

“This is a clear and coherent alternative strategy to that underlying Project Transform, which is based on out-of-date planning assumptions and a timetable being forced by government PFI funding arrangements – which will probably disappear in their current form anyway. 

“The messages coming out of both Coventry and Solihull suggest that the new administrations there are looking actively at alternatives to Project Transform. Warwickshire needs to do the same as a matter of urgency.”

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