To: Gloucestershire County Council / Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government

No Public Confidence in Glos County Council

No Public Confidence in Glos County Council

We call upon GCC to admit its failings and work to address them, including by:

1. Spending public money to benefit the community, not private contractors;
2. Making a stronger commitment to ensure transparency and accountability; and
3. Looking for and finding a fresh approach to waste management.

If GCC is unwilling or unable to implement the necessary changes then we, the undersigned, believe that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government should use his powers of intervention to place Gloucestershire County Council in Special Measures.

Why is this important?

Government cuts are already affecting the state of county roads and the number of teaching staff available for our children. Now our county council is SACRIFICING FRONT-LINE SUPPORT FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN AND ADULTS on the altar of a huge (£500m), air-polluting white-elephant project, the Javelin Park incinerator.

Social care support is being mismanaged, withheld and - shockingly - even withdrawn, while the waste budget is set to increase year on year just to feed the INCINERATOR CONTRACT.

This deal FORCES the council to pay nearly TWICE MARKET RATE for a fixed amount of waste burnt (even if that waste isn’t supplied), SUBSIDISING THE DEVELOPER'S PRIVATE CLIENTS with taxpayers money [1], while actively discouraging the cleaner recycling technologies recommended by UK law. [2]

GCC’s ruling Cabinet has been CONCEALING THE AWFUL TRUTH in both these areas, even from most of its own councillors, hiding “behind secrecy and the shutting down of opposing voices”. [3]

The council is already in "special measures" with regard to Children’s Services (with a “culture of fear” amongst staff [3]), and has spent OVER £200K of public money on expensive lawyers trying (and failing) to PREVENT SCRUTINY of the terrible incinerator mistake, while dishonestly claiming it is good value. [4]

Even with construction well under way at Javelin Park, the CONTRACT IS SO EXPENSIVE that GCC would still make long-term savings and better fulfil its legal obligations by changing course now. [5]

NOTES

[1] The original contract (2013) has a bring-or-pay requirement of 108,000 tonnes at £146/tonne. (Best market rate is closer to £80/tonne.) Thereafter the price drops to very little (£15/tonne), pricing recycling right out of the market. The pricing has therefore been described as "predatory", and complaints have been lodged with the Competition & Markets Authority.
[2]. The UK Waste Regulations 2011 assign a legal duty to move waste up the "waste hierarchy", away from disposal towards recycling and re-use.
[3] see http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/councillors-say-were-lied-to-147451
[4] External auditors Grant Thornton have not signed off on the Council's accounts regarding Value for Money, precisely because they are investigating the impacts of the contract.
[5] £38 million has already been handed over to UBB or set aside for the contract on completion - so this can be used to cover a large chunk of any cancellation costs. Cleaner recycling technologies could save up to £10 million/year in processing costs.

How it will be delivered

Once over 5,000 Gloucestershire signatures, the petition will be presented to GCC in person at a meeting of full council. There will be a press alert and a press conference following the meeting.

Gloucestershire

Reasons for signing

  • This dishonest and secretive deal, which does not serve anyone but a few whose pockets will be lined, should not be allowed to go ahead. I am outraged at how such a scheme can be forced through, despite all the opposition. I hope it will be investigated and that heads will roll. We are supposed to live in a democracy!
  • The toxic fumes that this incinerator will produce, will make so many of us ill, cause cancers and pollute our environment. No good can come from it. How can there be any confidence in a council that approves this?
  • Lloyd Surgenor

Updates

2017-12-26 19:36:41 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2017-12-01 14:43:48 +0000

500 signatures reached

2017-11-11 18:33:26 +0000

100 signatures reached

2017-11-11 15:36:42 +0000

50 signatures reached

2017-11-11 14:58:03 +0000

25 signatures reached

2017-11-11 11:56:17 +0000

10 signatures reached