Gloucestershire

Gloucester waste incinerator protesters block road

Protest at waste incinerator site
Image caption Protesters gathered outside the entrance to the incinerator on Tuesday morning

Campaigners protesting against a controversial waste incinerator held up rush hour traffic by blocking a road.

A group of people gathered at the site of the Javelin Park facility in Gloucester, near junction 12 of the M5, calling for an independent inquiry into the way the contract was awarded.

Gloucestershire County Council revealed last month the project's cost had risen from £500m to £633m.

The leader of the council has defended the cost as being value for money.

The council signed a contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) for the scheme in 2013.

Council leader, Mark Hawthorne, said the project was "still value for money" and would save £100m over the next 25 years.

"Costs have gone up, We've had the increase in the costs of labour, materials and steel, but it's important to remember the costs of alternatives have gone up as well."

Image caption The incinerator is due to start burning waste in July

One of the protesters, Green group leader at the council, Rachel Smith, said she was "outraged" that contract negotiations had been "secret and deceptive".

"Just before Christmas the county council tried to bury some news by releasing figures that showed costs had gone up by over £100m.

"That contract was renegotiated in secret without proper procurement process, and without proper competitive tender that's required to guarantee a good price for the taxpayer."

Last year the council was told it must reveal some parts of a previously redacted report, released under Freedom of Information rules, which the authority had previously said was "commercially sensitive".

It released the details on 21 December, revealing it will cost £112 per tonne to burn the waste.

Work began on it in 2016 and the incinerator is due to begin operating in July.

The protest held up traffic on the B4008, at the waste plant's entrance, for a short time at about 08:00 GMT.

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