Protesters gathered outside Cardiff County Hall yesterday as councillors appointed the firm constructing the controversial Splott incinerator as the preferred bidder for a multi-million-pound waste contract.
The Prosiect Gwyrdd Joint Committee met at the council’s offices in Cardiff Bay to accept board recommendations for the 25-year contract to burn about 172,000 tonnes of rubbish each year.
A small group of about 10 protesters waved banners and placards outside County Hall before the council meeting got under way yesterday morning.
The campaigners later made their way into the public meeting as the Prosiect Gwyrdd board outlined their recommendations to councillors.
Councillor Russell Goodway, who chaired the meeting, warned one protester he could be asked to leave the meeting following an outburst from the campaigner as the meeting began.
Coun Goodway said: “There are times as elected members where we are called upon to make decisions that affect the lives of many people.”
Mike Williams, project director for Prosiect Gwyrdd, told the committee that organisations including the Public Health Agency had said the incinerator did not impact upon people’s health, despite concerns from some campaigners.
He said: “They have said that any impacts on health are likely to be small and not detectable. They are saying they can’t actually find that there are health impacts.”
Mr Williams also praised the project’s environmental impact.
He said: “We are moving from something that is not sustainable at the moment to something with a much better environmental performance.
“We don’t believe that it will impact on the partners’ recycling ambitions.”
Pippa Bartolotti, leader of the Wales Green Party, was among those who joined the protest.
She claimed Prosiect Gwyrdd was a “bad deal for Welsh taxpayers” if the councils failed to provide enough waste for incineration.
She said: “Waste is going down, recycling is going up and the amount of non-recyclable materials produced is going down. My prediction is that there won’t be enough waste to fulfil the central obligation for these councils, and if they can’t provide the waste, they will have to provide the money.”
All five councils involved – Cardiff, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, the Vale of Glamorgan and Newport – must now agree to the Prosiect Gwyrdd Joint Committee’s recommendations.
It is estimated the incinerator would save the coalition of councils more than £11m in its first year of operation, compared with the cost of landfill operations.