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Cornwall Council set to lend Sita £25m for incinerator

By West Briton  |  Posted: October 04, 2012

An artist's impression of the incinerator

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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."

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  • caroclemens  |  October 10 2012, 3:39PM

    Could this be the same Cornwall Council that is planning on allowing speculative housing developments and thus encouraging an enormous influx of well-off and therefore waste-generating people ( = several Truros)? Are the same planners involved? Another bit of crisis management to deal with a problem created by bad planning and poor governance. As usual some of Cornwall's worst-off communities get to deal with the rubbish.

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  • 1newlyn  |  October 08 2012, 4:53AM

    I would like to see a copy of the contract displayed to the public before it is signed.The reason being that there is usually a get out clause for repayment that favours the contractor.I would also like to know what is the interest rate that the council intend to get as a result of the loan as I am sure Sita will make a lot out of it ! Also there are the program issues with the construction , shall the council recieve late completion payments should the construction be held up by Sita ? These are some of the issues. I would also like to see the construction and commissioning program displayed to the public for comment along with the actual pollution levels when it is running (this to be on a weekly /monthly basis) and the council should apply fines should these levels be exceeded.The list is unending and the council needs to seriously think about what they intend to do and not rely on european legislation for pollution levels.They should make their own laws !! This is God,s country and we should keep it this way !

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  • Phil_lip  |  October 07 2012, 8:00PM

    When I was doing my env science degree we covered many new technologies at the time and one of them was 100% capture, cooling, compressing and storage underground by injecting it into the rocks through deep drills of any polluting gases that come from any factory or power plant, this was 12 years ago and this country has done nothing to implement any of them even though some of the people I was at uni with now work in national companies or local and national government. IF we need an incinerator in Cornwall then this should be tied into the contracts and there is no reason for sita to have any kind of loan from the council seeing as "Sita Holdings UK Limited was founded on 03 Dec 1997 and has its registered office in Berkshire. The organisation's status is active, and they have 31 associated directors - 4 are current, and 27 are former. Sita UK Group Holdings Ltd is the Sita Holdings UK Limited's sole shareholder with a total of 679528758.00 shares. The company has 8 subsidiaries. The business has assets of £327,626,000 plus liabilities of £405,454,000. They are due to pay £35,012,000 to creditors and are owed back £83,693,000 from trade debtors. Last year, they paid £-10,332,000 in tax and had £12,000 in cash reserves. Sita Holdings UK Limited reported a gross profit of £92,834,000 in their latest financial records. The company's current net worth is £299,565,000, and the value of their shareholders' interest is £398,492,000. " https://http://tinyurl.com/94yw3aq in 2009 they only had a 12% share in the landfill market as SITA UK LTD and profts of £32 million. If they are connected, the American SITA made $1.1 billion last year. So no they do not need a loan from public money to make this incinerator and make it the first 100% polluting gas collecting one in Europe. The funny thing about all this is something I read in a paper a few years ago (2003), part of it that stuck in my head is quoted below "The installed capacity of UK incinerators registered for levy exemptions is 262.2MW (see Table 3). At full capacity, approximately 2.3 billion kWh would be generated.7 The levy exemption on this, at a 50 per cent qualifying level, is currently equivalent to £4.9 million per annum. In England, incineration of municipal and industrial waste is the second largest recipient of Levy Exemption Certificates for renewable energy, the largest being landfill gas." The paper "Money To Burn" can be got from foe here and back then in 2003 you can see how all this was set up: http://tinyurl.com/9yu7rvc Basically the recycling is a front for the money they get off the subsidies and profits from the incinerator so any company that owns incinerators has a deflated cost of recycling which is currently only at around 34% of all waste and hasn't increased for a while.

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  • re_creator  |  October 07 2012, 5:51PM

    Dear dee_2, I was in the public gallery at meetings where 5 or 6 "enterprising Councilors" asked that very question. When the 'alternative proposal' was presented, we too asked that all the finacial details be scrutanized. We also had the backing of councillors who raised a motion asking for both sets of budjets to be looked at. They have refused! hiding behind Comercial Confidenciality. Can I take this opportunity to say how many of you, have spent the last 7 years reading All the paperwork, researched, attending meetings, speoke out, lobbed councilors and saying NO? How many of you Recycle everything you can? How many of you Refuse to buy stuff wraped in wastefull packaging? How many of you buy items that can be repaired or are made of recycled materials? If you are not, then I'm sorry to say and with great respect, you are part of the problem not the solution.

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  • dee_2  |  October 07 2012, 4:35PM

    It is common practice within the civil service, and particularly local government, to hide any controversial issues under the cloak of 'commercial confidentiality'. Why didn't some enterprising councillor ask why this issue is commercially confidential when there is only the one bidder? It stinks, but then we are becoming immune to the stink emanating from Kremlin Kernow. Meanwhile the thinking public are obliged to look on in despair as yet more of our money is transferred into private foreign hands. Vote UKIP.

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  • re_creator  |  October 07 2012, 2:09PM

    Dear barrtribe, A full and comprehensive Alternative propasal WAS presented to the Council recently. Links to the transcript and a YouTube presentation can be found here at http://tinyurl.com/9zxqmjn Please note this propsal has been rejected by the council as 'undeliverable'! The figures given to them INCLUDED compensation to SITA for cancellation of contract AND repayment of PFI received. Not as has been reported in the press & to councillors by the officers. It would still be cheaper to build, cheaper to run, quicker to build, use land and resources that already exist AND would not harm health or planet, but reject it they did! But hey! If this council can decide to store the counties most valuable archival records in a flood plain (having to buy the land and build the building 1st) instead of a building the already have, they can reject the opportunity to save money!

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  • barrtribe  |  October 07 2012, 1:24PM

    Why all the negative comments, are we to continue to send all our rubbish out of county. A grose miss use of public funds and not exactly environmentally friendly either. Would all the moaners here like another st day built on Their doorstep instead. We have tons of rubbish everyday we have to get rid of. Any of you moaners coming up with and alternative, lets see it written here.

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  • re_creator  |  October 06 2012, 9:37PM

    While Waste don't win votes and the public dont care (as long as the bin they put out in the morning has gone when they get back) we will be treated to decisions such as this! This travesty is the 2nd in as many weeks, where you have reported on decisions that to anyone with half an ounce of common sence would of chucked out long ago! But we have a decision like this. SITA get £25 million help, the proceeds from the sale of electric to the national grid and the inhanced profits to their company. The people of Cornwall get pollution, dioxin, acidification, reduced health, birthdefects and the loss of organic status for the farmers finding that someone has built an incinerator too close to them, and the clean up bill when it's decommissioned. The people of St Dennis get £78,000 a year blood money, 300 viehcle movements a day(and rising) and a 200 foot stack and a building as tall as the hills that encircle the village to look at. Even if the leadership said Yep the past administration made a mistake, lets put it right for now and the future. Even if Robertson looses his vote of no confidence. He can swan off to his nice house, some where else, with his nice golden handshake/salary and his nice pension fund. Officers of the County Council will still have jobs. And decisions such as these will be made on the golf courses and masionic lodges of cornwall by men patting 'the old boys network' on the back! in stead of due process, for the benifit of 'one an all'

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 05 2012, 1:21PM

    consider for a minute that this could be a golden investment for us taxpayers...then put yourself in the position of leadership/ responsibility where you can no longer provide landfill and perhaps producing energy via incinerating waste is a proven benefit to the community. Before engaging keyboard reflect on the corruption of democracy inherent in our local politics where most councillors are voted in by a tiny fraction of thier community..and most are hangers on since pre unitary days {i'm suggesting the majority of councillors in this new big gov system are unfit for purpose and would be out of thier depth at a parish council}

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  • Fistral20  |  October 05 2012, 7:53AM

    This Council seems to constantly ride roughshod over it's electorate, it's time someone took the responsibility for referring them to the Ombudsman and the Audit Commission, as Robertson and Lavery seem to think it's in their ownership not that of the Council Tax payers.

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