CORNWALL Council is set to lend waste firm Sita £25 million to help fund the project to build an incinerator to deal with Cornwall's waste.
A revised project plan (RPP) for the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre (Cerc) was due to go before the council's waste development advisory panel yesterday and the environment and economy scrutiny committee next week.
The RPP was required after the protracted process of obtaining planning permission for the incinerator meant the original proposals, drawn up in 2006, needed updating.
Officers have recommended the RPP be supported by the council's Cabinet, which is expected to discuss it later this month.
Under the new agreement is a provision that the council provides Sita with a £25 million loan, to be repaid over the lifetime of the contract the firm has for waste management in Cornwall. Details of the loan and what it is needed for are unclear in the report, which is available to the public.
A second report, to be considered in closed session by the two committees, is believed to outline the financial details of the RPP. It has been classed 'confidential' because it contains information that relates to financial and business affairs.
The public report provides details of a fund to be provided for nearby communities which will be affected by the plant. This states that £79,000 a year will be granted to St Dennis Parish Council for the lifetime of the Cerc. The fund will be provided by Sita and Cornwall Council.
Campaigners against the incinerator recently put forward an alternative proposal which they asked the council to get independently assessed – a view supported by the waste panel and scrutiny committee.
However, the Cabinet voted not to consider the alternative, saying it would be too costly and time-consuming to enter into an another arrangement and was happy it already had a satisfactory project in the Cerc.
The report states that leading counsel for the council said the alternative was merely a "vision" and "lacks both planning and commercial reality".
Ken Rickard, from the Cornwall Waste Forum, which opposes the incinerator, said: "It appears that not much has changed from the contract/original planning and that all energies have been directed at fitting the financial affordability rather than a revised plan. Unfortunately the public are still not told the cost of this RPP."