LOCAL INCINERATOR BATTLE GOES NATIONAL
Our challenge to the Javelin Park incinerator has moved from the courts to GCC’s auditor, Grant Thornton, from whom we expect a report soon. Meanwhile our local battle against incineration has become a national one with further media attention to the insanity of incineration as a waste solution. And national legal action has highlighted the dangers of lack of transparency in Govt contracts.
More on this below.
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‘THE DIRTY TRUTH ABOUT YOUR RUBBISH'
Channel 4 Dispatches to expose Waste Incineration on Monday 8th March 8pm
This programme puts our local campaign against Javelin Park into a national context. Channel 4 describes it as: "A look at how millions of tonnes of household recycling end up incinerated, hiking carbon emissions, with councils locked into long and expensive waste contracts".
Please watch, and use your social media accounts and email contacts to help promote this link 'The Dirty Truth About Your Rubbish'.
The Radio Times says:
"Environmental journalist Lucy Siegle investigates the rise of waste incineration in the UK, examining how millions of tonnes of waste left out for recycling ends up being burned. The rise in carbon emissions from incineration is put under the spotlight, with exclusive research revealing that it is on course to become the UK's dirtiest form of energy production. The programme also looks at how councils are locked into expensive contracts with incinerator operators forcing them to burn waste for decades to come."
XR Gloucestershire is having a “watch party” followed by a panel Q &A discussion directly afterwards:
AUDITOR’S ‘REPORT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST’
In addition to its environmental impact, Javelin Park is a shocking waste of money. The directors of CR4C therefore made a formal (lack of) ‘Value for Money’ complaint to the auditor nearly four years ago.
Auditor Grant Thornton’s enquiry has prevented Gloucestershire’s accounts from being signed off since then. They finally issued their third draft “Provisional Views” report in December, inviting views from us and from the GCC. We replied within the January deadline but after the GCC were given an extra three weeks, we added to our response.
The good news is that the auditor is minded to issue a ‘ Report in the Public Interest’ . This is a big deal – these reports are rare and typically criticise financial mismanagement or lack of good governance in local Govt.
We cannot tell you what the draft Grant Thornton document says because they insist – on pain of reporting us to the police – that it must remain confidential – even from the Audit Committee. However, our comments are not confidential and can be viewed here.
Our latest response concludes: “The entire history of this contract has been one of concealment and delay by a small group at the GCC - the fact that it was concealed for years has even been confirmed by a High Court judge. This group used every trick in the book - and considerable public funds - to frustrate legitimate attempts by taxpayers to ensure full transparency concerning the Javelin Park contract. Why is that? Because in addition to being ill-conceived it was illegally procured and, as a result of a flawed process with no competition, bad value for money.”
We do not know when Grant Thornton will release their final (public) response to our Value for Money objection. This could be in the next few weeks or it could be delayed because of the May elections. If Grant Thornton do issue a ‘Report in the Public Interest’, then it must be publicised and a public meeting must be held to discuss it. The more people who attend such a meeting to let their feelings be known, the better. Please contact us here if you’d like to be kept informed about this.
GOOD LAW, BAD PRACTICE
You may have seen that the Good Law Project recently won their case against the Government over the lack of transparency when letting Covid-related contracts. We think this comment by the judge is particularly pertinent: “When Government eschews transparency, it evades accountability.”
The national Govt claimed that the pandemic was unprecedented and some procurement shortcuts had to be taken - but they still lost. Of course the GCC had no such excuses! However, otherwise the case is so similar to ours that we thought we’d reproduce their information below.
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