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Hull Daily Mail and East Riding Mail

Wednesday January 19th.2011

Joy at victory in battle to halt incinerator plans as councils end WRG contract

SUCCESS: Campaigners, from left, Malcolm Lynn, Councillor Peter Turner and John Dennis.

TIRELESS campaigners are celebrating after succeeding in a five-year battle to have plans for an incinerator scrapped.

Hull City and East Riding councils have come to an agreement with Waste Recycling Group (WRG) to terminate the contract between them in 2013 and ditch the energy-from-waste facility at Saltend.

The plans have been fraught with problems from the first day they were proposed, 12 years ago.

In 1999, the two councils agreed a contract with WRG to get rid of the region's rubbish for the next 25 years, with WRG building an incinerator to get the job done.

Since then, hundreds of people have taken to the streets to protest against the incinerator.

Now, with the estimated cost of building the incinerator soaring from £30 million to £144 million, the councils and the waste firm have jointly agreed to shelve the project.

With the increase in recycling, there is now less waste to burn, and the incinerator may not be economically viable.

The plan had originally been to site the incinerator at Foster Street, Hull.

But after a public inquiry in 2003, that plan was rejected, and the Saltend site was given the go-ahead in 2005.

Holderness Opposes the Incinerator (HOTI) has fought the plans ever since.

John Dennis, of HOTI, said: "This has been a battle all along but we have had amazing backing from residents and we are grateful for their support.

"We believe our five years of campaigning has been the catalyst which has brought this about.

"Hopefully this will lead to more recycling, composting, and other greener methods."

Friends of the Earth has helped HOTI with the legal battle.

Sue Joliffe, of Friends of the Earth Hull, said: "I am relieved by this decision.

"It will spur the councils on to find alternative methods of waste disposal."

Campaigners believe the long-running project could have already cost millions of pounds over the years due to legal costs, consultancy fees, and planning officers' time.

Details concerning the termination of the contract are not known.

In a memo, councillors have been warned they cannot comment on the long-running project in case it breaches the agreement with WRG.

But the Mail understands both the councils and WRG will have most likely cut their losses, and neither will seek compensation.

WRG will remain in charge of disposing of waste for both authorities, until its contract ends in 2013.

A joint statement by the two councils said: "The current services will be provided until the end of March 2013 to enable residents to continue to improve on their excellent recycling and composting achievements.

"An energy-from-waste facility will not be built within this contract. The councils will put in place new contractual arrangements for the treatment and disposal of waste."

A spokesman for WRG said: "Of course it is always very disappointing to lose a long term contract but we feel, in the circumstances, this is the most satisfactory and cost-effective outcome for all parties and for the tax payers.

"WRG is fully committed to continuing to provide a first class waste management service under the existing contract until March 31, 2013."

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