Mayor subs ‘yes’ vote for Manvers waste plant

THE Mayor of Doncaster has refused to sanction a chosen waste unit scheme – that could be an incinerator – at Manvers.

Peter Davies shunned the long-term Private Finance Initiative (PFI) since taking office in 2009. But the scheme will still go ahead despite his and four other Doncaster cabinet members abstaining from votes to decide on a preferred bidder.

Just two cabinet members gave the necessary rubber-stamping of the choice bid.

Whether the final unit will be a SITA Lease Lend incinerator or an 3SE consortium composter producing renewable green fuel for, is yet to be announced.

Mr Davies made his position clear, when he said: “In February 2010, full Council committed this Council to this project. The Mayor and cabinet would not have made that commitment, had the decision been theirs to make and have consistently stated their objections to this project.

“The Mayor and Cabinet do not support long-term deals that tie us to a single solution when there is every prospect that new, more efficient and cost-effective technology will be available during the life of this project. We will also be limited in the responses we can make to any changes in legislation.

“We have however, reached a position where the financial penalties of withdrawal mean this is not an option.

“Against that background, the only course of action open to us today is to recognise the position and reluctantly accept the recommendations within this report.”

Terms that Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham council cabinets were asked to approve in their separate – but simultaneous – meetings, include that although the site is to handle “municipal, household waste”, the contracts contains a “substitute waste clause that requires the contractor to source waste from the commercial sector to mitigate the risks of tonnage falling below the guaranteed tonnage level”.

That followed a recent plea from Sheffield Environmental Services for more waste from the three boroughs - to fill its under-loaded incinerator.

The terms also said the project agreement and all contracts will be signed “at financial close”. Last week it was revealed that this will be PRIOR TO planning approval, and that a land payment, likely to be around £1.6 million, will be made to Rotherham Council as the owners of the site.

A BDR Partnership spokeswoman said that any substituted “commercial waste” will not include toxic, medical or agricultural material. She said: “The contractor will be required to let the PFI partner councils know the source of any substitute waste”.