Calderdale Council refuses Freedom of Information request about proposed PFI waste incinerator

Calderdale Council has just sent me their refusal to provide information about the proposed Bradford/Calderdale Private Finance Initiative (PFI) waste incinerator and power station that I requested before the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) withdrew their funding for this and other proposed waste incinerators.

Calderdale Council’s response included the invitation to “approach the Head of Democratic and Partnership Services, Westgate House, Westgate, Halifax HX1 1PS.” if I was “unhappy with” the response. I have therefore resubmitted my FOI request to him, including an explanation of my reasons for doing so.

Calderdale Council’s response

“In light of the recent decision by DEFRA to withdraw central government support for the remaining waste PFI projects in procurement (including ours), the Councils are currently working with the Government and our preferred contractor to review the implications for our particular project. The Council’s proposed capital contribution to the project may be reviewed as a result of this. Therefore, no agreement has been reached with the contractor at this stage about the Council’s investment and the terms and conditions surrounding it, and the Council is not therefore in a position to respond to your detailed inquiries further than our earlier reply.”

This “earlier reply” refers to an email from the Finance Officer which completely failed to answer my questions. This led me to make the formal Freedom of Information request.

One thought on “Calderdale Council refuses Freedom of Information request about proposed PFI waste incinerator

  1. This is absolutely correct, the Leeds and Yorkshires residents can justly say that these projects are not only not wanted but unnecessarily a waste of the Tax Payers’ hard-earned money. Please remember that there is no such thing as Government Money, the Government are the Stewards of the Public’s and the Tax Payers’ money. As such they should be looking at saving money and not spending it unwarranted;y.

    As you will have noted over the weeks there has been a record of statements made from here (this writer) that the need for this incinerator in North Yorkshire County and York City (NYC and YC) Councils has been faulted all along. There was never a need for it as there has always been a substantive alternative available and ready to go from the outset that this was proposed.
    When the original invitations to the proposal was raised back in 2006 there was then an interest from a company that even then had proposed taking the recovered materials (or biodegradable fraction) from these sources of municipal solid waste in this area and to turn this in to the renewable transport fuels. At that time the Consulting Engineers and the Advisors and the Council Waste Management in the NYC and YC Councils were adamant that they would only go for the option that they had proposed – an Incinerator and Waste to Energy Plant.

    They were told then that there was an alternative and far better environmental option that did not have the environmental detractors that an incinerator had and that a proposal was available that would take this same material and make the liquid biofuels from it.

    They were also told that their budget at £400+million could be reduced by £200+ million by opting for this route.

    They were told that the proposal would make such a sufficiency of biofuels that within 4 to 6 years of start up it would produce an income stream which would pay for the building and its operations and maintenance totally and outright and then produce a positive income which if they wished – both – Leeds and the North Yorkshire County Council and York City Council could share in that benefit by:-
    1] reducing the treatment costs from £25-00 per tonne to £00-00 (£Zero) per tonne,
    2] provide a biofuel as Butanol which could be used in the area’s public transport as a clean fuel. Now this is a benefit that cannot be bettered. The fuel can add to the cleanliness of York City and the local area and be used directly as a replacement for diesel. Don’t you need clean-fuels in your buses? Of course you do, and this benefit will last for ever!

    They were also told that this would eliminate any need for the two Councils to seek a PFI requirement to finance the project as it could be financed by a structured in-Council borrowing without support from Government.

    They were told also that with current policies across the EU an incineration-style waste-to-energy plant (be it incineration or gasification etc as the Advanced Thermal Treatment processes or their equivalents) would not be as easily accepted by the Public unlike the process as proposed by this Company. Now, 7 years later, they have reaped their rewards!

    What is evident still is that these same Councils have totally ignored the runes of the time in 2006. All these statements have come to the forefront of today.

    The Councils of North Yorkshire County and York City should now be fully aware that there is a proposal in South Milford which is Shovel-Ready and Awaiting to Go with Planning Approval on the Old Maltings Site and that it has the capacity to accept all the Wastes derived after recycling from this area and that it can be used to make the biofuels. This plant at South Milford which is currently being used to make a Compost is awaiting the start to do just this and it is costed at less than £110 Million in terms of building. That is less than a third of the current estimated value of the building of this plant at Allerton.

    Furthermore the total cost estimated to build operate and run this plant will not incur the £1.4Billion or the £1,400,000,000-00 that is currently being blagged around as the value over 25 years for this programme as it will generate a real income for the area and deliver a fuel which can be used locally.

    Please please please Council Tax Payers realise that the real issue here is that the alternative proposal here is that it will not cost you an “arm and a leg” and it will save you money that can then be put to better uses in say your Schools and Social Services and the Likes.

    Please please please Council Tax Payers realise that this is nothing to do with the process – which we all agree is not the best as it would discharge noxious gases and carcinogens over the area, and that will not happen with the proposal which is totally enclosed in water – but that you will not have to pay for ever and a day for this proposal as this will provide you with the potential to Reduce Council Taxes: beat that!

    Let your MPs in Parliament know and your Councillors also know what you think here.

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