Corrupt? Incompetent? Or misled by corporate interests?
MARK HAWTHORNE, leader of glos county council
Ultimately responsible for the signing of the Javelin Park contract - the biggest contract ever signed by the County Council. Claims that the project has stood up to repeated challenges in the Council when in fact those challenges were voted down by his party majority rather than actually addressed - which is why the incinerator has been the single most challenged issue in the Council for nearly a decade. Kept details of the contract secret from all but a few Cabinet members on grounds of "commercial confidentiality" so that other Councillors did not have the possibility of raising detailed objections. Dismissed complaints of misconduct as politically motivated. Continues to peddle misleading statements in the press (see also Theodoulou below). Grievously misled the Council in the vote of February 2015, claiming the contract would save the county £150 million and cost up to £100 million to cancel, both of which figures we now know to be deeply misleading.
When recently asked during public oral questions whether he thought the Council had a duty to be clear and honest with the public, he said "Absolutely." Then at the next Constitution Committee meeting he proposed removing the option for the public to ask such questions without a week's notice. The Constitution Committee is responsible for the Council's openness and accountability.
RAY THEODOULOU, deputy leader of glos county council
Continues to trot out the same handful of misleading statements to the press:
"Javelin Park will save the county money" - UNTRUE. So-called savings were compared only to landfill (including landfill tax and excluding valuable benefits derived from that tax like the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust) and were dependent on speculation over energy prices in 20 years' time. Comparisons were not even made to alternative incineration provision available elsewhere, let alone greener alternatives - all of these would have been cheaper options.
"Javelin Park will support the county's recycling targets" - UNTRUE. Incineration is known to disincentivize recycling and encourage the production of waste. The Javelin Park contract is particularly bad in this regard as GCC is obliged to send >100,000 tonnes of waste to it annually at £146/tonne (a whopping 150% of the market rate) or pay for it anyway, discouraging recycling. After that the price drops to £15, which forces alternative processing out of the market, discouraging recyling again. This is why the contract has been reported to the Competition & Markets Authority as being in breach of competition law.
"Javelin Park will power 25,000 homes" - MISLEADING. This is no justification for building it, as almost any other way of producing the power would be more efficient than incineration, which is even worse than coal-fired power stations in terms of energy taken to produce electricity.
When asked whether he understood the pricing structure of the contract and how it disincentivized recycling, claimed to be befuddled by the questioner's logic. When asked to provide comparisons of benefits with alternative waste processing methods, said he couldn't see what public interest that would serve.
IAN MAWDSLEY, project director for Javelin park
Project Director for Javelin Park incinerator. Helped negotiate the outrageously expensive and complex contract with developer Urbaser Balfour Beatty. Defended in court GCC's concealing of key contract details for years - details which were judged by that tribunal to be squarely in the public interest and ordered to be released. Criticised by the judge as "partisan".
When asked in court about the summary setting aside of an extra £17 million (!) of council funds for UBB in the autumn of 2015, he admitted that the decision was called in by opposition councillors, citing lack of consultation. Mawdsley's response: "the constitution says we had to take into account any consultation when making the decision. As there was no consultation, there was nothing to take account of..."