26th May 2017 - New councillors alerted to old problems
As you'll have realised, local election results returned many of the same key figures to the County Council and gave the Conservatives an overall majority. Hawthorne and Theodoulou remain Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council respectively.
This does not mean that either they or the Council as a whole can now ignore the many and varied problems with Javelin Park.
Indeed, an open letter was published in the local press last week (Stroud News & Journal, Stroud Life, Gloucestershire Echo and possibly others) explaining why. A printed version including references - see below - was sent to each councillor's home address.
From the list of signatories (NB a few extra online who missed the print and post deadline) it will be clear that a significant range of eminent community members as well as national figures do not consider this story to be over. It isn't.
Open letter to all newly (re-)elected Gloucestershire County Councillors
15th May 2017
Dear County Councillors
As you know, construction work has commenced on the Javelin Park incinerator. However this should not blind the Council to the many and persistent problems with this project.
Contract is of a type (similar to PFI) long discredited, inflexible and unwieldy,locking millions away which could be available for vital local services
Revealed figures show it does not offer value for money and is anti-competitive, possibly illegal
Projected savings are speculative, accrue late if at all and only in comparison to landfill (even alternative incineration is absent from the figures)
Using other available regional processing capacity would be cheaper - and instantly available
Incineration is heading for overcapacity in the UK very soon, as it is elsewhere in Europe
Two legal complaints are already underway (with Competition & Markets Authority and with Grant Thornton, GCC's external auditors)
The project does not comply with 2011 waste regulations
There is huge local opposition on grounds of air pollution and toxicity
The UK has failed repeatedly to keep air pollution within legal limits
The UK has signed the Paris Agreement - with which building new sources of climate-affecting emissions is incompatible
Official communications from GCC in recent years have been misleading, focussing on inflated cancellation costs, speculative savings and incomplete comparisons. Repeated reference is made to a "transparent procurement process", but many of the problems with this contract lie instead in the detail of the pricing structure, which is both too expensive in the bring-or-pay phase and too cheap thereafter, actively discouraging recycling in both.
As you no doubt know, there have been many challenges to the Javelin Park project, for all the reasons above and more. Official communications from GCC have used the fact that these challenges have been unsuccessful in the past to imply that the project has somehow "stood up" to challenge. In fact what this history shows is exactly the opposite - there are so many problems with it that they keep (re-)appearing. The continued quashing of opposition only indicates the stranglehold of the previous Cabinet over the Council - it does nothing to address the problems or make them disappear.
It should by now be clear to all Councillors that public opposition is also not about to disappear. With 20,000 children attending educational establishments within 5 miles of the site, in the face of recent reports on the severity of air pollution and in the wider context of climate change, residents will continue to withhold social licence for this project.
There is an opportunity right now to re-examine the situation in the light of all the above, and to do the right thing - by the climate, by local residents and bytaxpayers' pockets. Cancellation costs need not affect budget spending, as substantial capital sums have already been put aside for the project. We urge the Council to act according to its Code of Conduct and have the courage to halt works and re-examine the moral, financial and environmental implications of its current course.
Jonathon Porritt, Writer and Environmentalist, Founder, Forum for the Future
Jeremy Irons, Actor and Environmental Campaigner
James Price, Campaigns Manager, TaxPayers Alliance
Molly Scott Cato, MEP South West
Steve Lydon, Leader, Stroud District Council
Humphrey Cook, Chair, Haresfield Parish Council
Richard Woolston, Headteacher, Beech Green Primary, Quedgeley
Adam Clark, Chair of College, Wynstones School, Gloucester
Stephanie Layhe, Headteacher, St Peter's HIgh School, Gloucester
David Drew, MP Candidate for Stroud (Labour)
Sarah Lunnon, MP Candidate for Stroud (Green)
Dale Vince, Founder, Ecotricity
Martin Large, Director, Hawthorn Press Ltd
Greg Pilley, Founder, Stroud Brewery
Helen Brent-Smith & David Kaspar, Founders, Days Cottage Apple Juice
Ray Purdy, Senior Law Fellow, Oxford University
Jamila Gavin, Children's Author
Jojo Mehta, Toxin Free Network / 38 Degrees
Points 1, see Tribunal final decision by HH Shanks, downloadable from
Points 2-4, see Community R4C commissioned report on the contract byindependent industry consultants and Environmental Law Foundation affiliated barrister D Sinclair
Point 5, see Eunomia waste consultancy report(s) 2015/16http://www.eunomia.co.uk/residual-waste-capacity-gap-continues-to-close/
Point 6, see complaints filed March/April 2017 by Community R4C
Point 7, see section on Waste Hierarchy in Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2011
Point 8, see minutes to Extraordinary meeting of GCC on 18th Feb 2015
see also paragraph 26 of Tribunal ruling (downloadable as for Point 1 above)
and numerous local demonstrations over last 5 years, most recent on 29th April 2017:
Point 9, see https://www.clientearth.org/major-victory-health-uk-high-court-government-inaction-air-pollution/ - link to high court judgement download can be found here
Point 10, see Paris Agreement,esp Art 2.1.(a), Art 4.4, Art 7.4, Art 10.5http://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/convention/application/pdf/english_paris_agreement.pdf