A secret deal has been struck to allow a controversial new £60 million Shropshire incinerator to burn thousands of tonnes of extra waste each year, it was revealed today.
The burner being built at Battlefield Enterprise Park in Shrewsbury is being upgraded to allow it to process an additional 5,000 tonnes of waste per year when it opens.
Shropshire Council’s cabinet agreed the upgrade to the Veolia incinerator at a behind-closed-doors meeting in June.
A Freedom of Information request by the Shropshire Star confirmed it had been agreed to provide a higher specification boiler.
The council’s information governance team refused to reveal how large the increase would be, releasing a substantially redacted version of the report agreed by the cabinet.
The FOI response said that due to commercial confidentiality, it was “not in the public interest to disclose the information requested”.
However, officials from Veolia confirmed today that the facility will now be able to process 95,000 tonnes of waste per year, rather than the originally-agreed 90,000 tonnes.
The waste giant said it would still be dealing with domestic and commercial waste from the Shropshire area once it opens in 2015.
Donald Macphail, regional director for Veolia Environmental Services, said: “The enhancement of the boiler will enable additional energy to be generated which will increase revenue income.
“The enhancement could give additional capacity which would enable commercial waste from around the county to be processed within the existing planning and permitting consents that allow for 95,000 tonnes of waste from around Shropshire.”
In the report, Larry Wolfe, head of waste management for the council, said the change could help generate additional money and also enable it to take some commercial waste.
“In addition to providing the capability to generate increased income from energy generation, this enhancement will allow more waste to be processed, within the existing planning and permitting consents,” he said.
Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of the Labour group on Shropshire Council, said: “I was at the Cabinet meeting and expressed my disgust that the significant changes were going through without public consent.
“It is a substantial increase in capacity to burn waste which will involve significant amounts of waste being brought into the county to be burned in Shrewsbury.”
The incinerator is scheduled to be open by 2015. It was given the go-ahead in January 2012 following an extensive public inquiry called by Veolia after Shropshire councillors rejected plans for the site in 2010.
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