Environment Bill may stop incinerator contract

Black waste bags containing recyclable items

The Prosiect Gwyrdd contract to burn waste in Viridor’s Cardiff incinerator may be stopped by the Environment Bill. The council was due to be sign an expensive 25-year contract with Viridor at the end of September, but it is threatened by the draft Bill which was published on 23rd October.

The draft contract is based on five Councils (Cardiff, Caerphilly, Monmouth, Newport, and Vale of Glamorgan) sending 35 per cent of their waste for incineration for the next 25 years. Most of this black bag waste is composed of recyclable items.

The five councils currently recycle just over 50 per cent of their waste. However a study by WRAP Cymru showed that most of the items in black-bag waste could be recycled.

The Welsh Government's Environment Bill proposes to ban the incineration of recyclable items such as glass, metal, plastics and paper. It also would make Councils introduce separate collections for different types of recycling.

The proposed contract with Viridor would guarantee to pay them a fixed fee to dispose of up to 35 per cent of each council's waste over the 25 years the Councils. If the Bill is passed the councils could legally send just 10 to 20 per cent of their waste for incineration. The rest has to be recycled.

If the five Councils sign the contract and the Bill goes through, their council tax payers would still have to pay Viridor the fixed fee. The result would be that council tax payers would be paying Viridor two to three times more for each amount per tonne of waste burnt than was originally agreed.