An incinerator being built in Cardiff has today been announced as the preferred bidder for a £1bn contract to burn thousands of tonnes of waste from across South Wales.
Viridor, the company building an incinerator at Trident Park in Splott, was given recommended preferred bidder status by the Prosiect Gwyrdd project board on Friday. The decision is expected to be ratified at a meeting of the joint committee on Thursday.
Under the 25 year contract, the incinerator will burn black bag rubbish collected from Cardiff, Newport, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan councils.
Viridor beat competition from Veolia, who had planned to build an incinerator at Llanwern steelworks in Newport.
It is estimated that the saving to the five councils during the first year of operation, compared with current landfill arrangements, will be in excess of £11m.
Construction of the Splott incinerator started in the summer after the development was given the go-ahead by Cardiff council’s planning committee in 2010, despite strong local opposition.
It has since been dogged by controversy, with campaigners claiming Viridor had breached conditions attached to the original planning agreement.
Splott’s Labour councillor Luke Holland said: “Today’s announcement is not unfortunately unexpected and just what many people in Splott and Tremorfa had feared for the longest time that Viridor would be building their incinerator in our community and bringing thousands of tonnes of waste come hell or high water.
“But even though the contract for Prosiect Gwyrdd may have been awarded today, the legality of their development remains in dispute and the simple facts have not changed one bit.
“The incinerator is not wanted in Splott and the local councillors will continue to fight with the community to prevent the development in anyway we can.”
Coun Holland, a member of the Labour group running Cardiff council, said the administration had inherited the Prosiect Gwyrdd when it came to power in May.
“I have been clear from the off about my views on it – it’s a ridiculous site for an incinerator, the consultation was flawed and it smacks of an extremely powerful company getting its way,” he added.
Andrew Kerr, senior responsible officer for Prosiect Gwyrdd, said: “To divert waste from landfill has significant environmental benefits and in line with Welsh Government Policy and European Legislation, a solution needs to be developed for waste which cannot be practically recycled or composted.
“The project advertised on a technology neutral basis, with specific emphasis on the need to divert waste from landfill and Energy from Waste was the only solution proposed to the partnership.
“This partnership will ensure that a significant amount of waste is diverted from landfill, after recycling and composting targets are met so the partner authorities can meet the waste requirements set out in law by the Welsh Government. Public events will be provided to support this announcement and more information will be provided to residents shortly.”
Howard Ellard, Viridor’s business development director, said: “Viridor is very pleased to be announced as recommended preferred bidder, and subject to the council’s decision, looks forward to working with the project to finalise and sign the contract by the summer.”