Tuesday, 26 February 2013

OPEN LETTER to Cardiff Cllrs - Prosiect Gwyrdd – Reject Viridor law-breakers

OPEN LETTER to Cardiff Cllrs for the full Council meeting Thursday 28th Feb.

Why is this matter on the busy budget agenda this Thursday after no hearing at a scrutiny committee? Does Cardiff's Labour Cabinet want to ram it through with minimal debate?
Cardiff's CEO Jon House refused to rule Cabinet members Goodway and Govier have an 'interest' though both are leading members of the PG Joint Committee that approved the choice of Viridor.  

Prosiect Gwyrdd/incinerator – Reject Viridor law-breakers  Details and references follow below.

For Cardiff Councillors to agree a 25-30 year PG waste contract with Viridor would be a travesty.  Council Officers admit the building work out at the Trident Park Site over the last 6 Months has been unlawful. Viridor rejected their requests to stop work.

Grave Misconduct Clause
You are permitted under the Public Contract Regulations, s.23(4), “not to select” Viridor for this“grave misconduct”.  CEO Jon House does not deny this – the officers should not be concealing this and threatening a £3million penalty if you do not select Viridor.

Cost Concealed- of Carbon Tax etc.
The Carbon Tax to be introduced in the next budget will start at £10-20 per tonne, set to  increase annually. This 15-30% extra is likely to fall on the Council under 'change in law' of s.75(vii).  Costs due to legal changes to exclude plastics will be high, as they remove the incinerator's main fuel

Over-estimating Waste Projections
PG wrongly says the waste projections meet Welsh targets. They ignore the target set in July for decreasing Municipal waste per person at 1.2% pa (30% over the 25 years).  They limit recycling to 65% for 25 years, far below the expected maximal levels of 90%.

Over-Contracting for Waste in Future Years
The report wrongly says (s.19)there's  flexibility to support 80% recycling (including ash).  This requires not 56 056, but 51 100 tonnes pa (Table D).  Taking last year's waste tonnage and recycling tonnage as base and including the 1.2% pa decrease mean  contracting nearer 30 000tonnes in the later years.  Binding Cardiff to pay for 25 years with no clause for revising down the guaranteed tonnage payment is irresponsible

High court challenge to Viridor
PG wrongly claim no planning and permitting problems for Viridor.  They ignore the High Court action started against the permit.  The Trident Park site being at flood risk, and Viridor's false information on incinerator bottom ash being ‘inert’ are both issues ignored in planning.
PG has thus ignored significant legal and environmental impediments – a proper re-assessment could score Veolia higher.

‘Best Value’ for Cardiff
PG claim this contract is good or best value, but they want to keep their project. Where is the  independent assessment from your finance officer or Auditor, or warnings about rushing to approve legal obligations and £250 million commitment without Councillor scrutiny?  The serious over-estimates of future waste tonnages have been referred to the Wales Audit Officer, Huw Vaughan Thomas.  It cannot be ‘best value’ to over-contract for waste 10 and 20 years to come.  You owe it to Cardiff people to require reliable independent scrutiny.

----------TAKE ACTION ---------
Do copy sections of the above to your local Cllrs, asking them to move that the item be deferred for scrutiny 

You can e-mail from http://www.writetothem.com : just put in your postcode to find your Cllrs, click on name and use the e-form

Prosiect Gwyrdd Report to Council on 28th Feb. 2013.
CARBON TAX omitted.The carbon tax to be introduced in the next budget appears to mean £1.5 to £2 million per year from the start of the incineration contract and liable to increase in future years. Will Cardiff be liable for all or part of this sum under s.75:
(vii) Change in law. The PA contains provisions to deal with changes in law and who bears any consequential costs that flow.  In certain circumstances this may be the partner authorities:
76. For further legal implications on key contract provisions please see exempt Appendix C to Appendix 1.
 Why is this important Carbon tax information not included in the report and why is the public prevented from seeing it under the ‘exempt’ provisions?
What of other legal changes foreseen, eg. the EC declaring that plastics must be recycled, and banning recyclables from incinerators?  Will future Cardiff Councils have to bear the costs?
s.19 says: “should we over-perform on the Welsh Government targets beyond 2024/25 there is also sufficient flexibility in the contract to support 80% recycling, including ash recycling.”
This is untrue,
First, total residual waste is reducing (~1.7% per yr) and the Welsh target is continuing reduction at 1.2% per annum. PG and Cardiff projections take zero reduction, ignoring the 1.2 set last July (in Municipal Waste Sector Plan).
Second, the WG target for recycling beyond 2025 has not been set.  The expectation (from the Env Agency) is 80-90% recycling is feasible with current technology, so levels at the upper level need to be taken into account.
Third, the 80% figure is based on faulty arithmetic by PG - see Table D
The 71 489 tonnes is based on 35% delivered to the incinerator, 65% real recycling.
If 25% is delivered to the incinerator (ie. 75% real recycling plus 5% ash recyclilng) the total is 51100 tpa.
This is10% below the 56 056 tonnes minimum guaranteed to be delivered
If the 1.2% per year decrease is included, the incinerable waste drops well below 50 000tpa.
Fourth, Cardiff’s waste is already (2011/12) below the base figure by 4.5% (other Councils even more) and is likely to decrease further as the fortnightly black-bag collections bite.
 Obvious demand: make the contract flexible, allowing the 56 056 tpa to revised down after say 5 years and each 5 yrs after, as data on decreasing waste and higher recycling rates comes in.
VIRIDOR’s ‘Grave misconduct’
Cardiff CEO has failed to answer if Viridor’s flouting of planning law can be called “Grave misconduct” – We presume the answer is – yes. The can therefore be excluded under Public Contracts Regulations 2006 Reg 23(4)http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/5/regulation/23/made
Criteria for the rejection of economic operators.
A contracting authority may treat an economic operator as ineligible or decide not to selectan economic operator in accordance with these Regulations on one or more of the following grounds, namely that the economic operator—
(e)has committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business or profession;
The Press report that Viridor and Veolia bids were very close. Moreover, the Council report misleads in not mentioning the ‘grave misconduct’ and that High Court action against Viridor’s incinerator is underway. This case includes substantial environmental reasons
# that the Viridor site is subject to flood risk, which the planning officers disregarded
# that Viridor gave false information that incinerator bottom ash is ‘inert’, so cannot implement the planning permission as it stands.
Therefore demand a further report that gives the legal and environmental case for choosing Veolia

1 comment:

  1. They propose to guarantee (and pay for) 56 000 tonnes of waste pa to the incinerator, however well Cardiff people perform in recycling.

    The officers claim "sufficient flexibility in the contract to support 80% recycling, including ash recycling.”

    This is untrue, the 80% figure is based on faulty arithmetic by PG.

    The 71 489 tonnes of Table D is based on 35% delivered to the incinerator, 65% real recycling.
    If 25% is delivered to the incinerator (the 80% is 75% real recycling plus 5% ash recycling) the total is 51100 tpa.
    ie. below the 56 056 tonnes minimum guaranteed to be delivered

    Cardiff officers want to comit us to paying for 25 years and have not made this simple check. What a shower!