Agenda and minutes

Growth & Infrastructure Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 9 August 2010 10.00 am

Venue: County Hall

Contact: Sue Whitehead, Tel: (01865) 810262  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments


Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Michael Gibbard (Temporary appointment: Councillor Stewart Lilly) and David Turner ( Temporary appointment Councillor Zoe Patrick).


Speaking to or petitioning the Committee


The following requests to address the meeting had been agreed:




John Kightley (Chair, Bucknell Parish Council)

Hazel M Watt (Deputy Chair, Bucknell Parish Council)

Mr Brian Wilson, Weston on the Green

Dr Ian Groves, Ardley resident

Mr Mark Ellis, Ardley resident

Mr Jonothan O’Neill, Chairman, Ardley Against the Incinerator

Councillor Larry Sanders


4. Call in of Decision of the cabinet – Oxfordshire Residual Waste Treatment Procurement – Award of Contract.



Call in of Decision by the Cabinet - Oxfordshire Residual Waste Treatment Procurement - Award of Contract pdf icon PDF 124 KB

In accordance with Rule 16 of the Scrutiny Procedure Rules, the Proper Officer has agreed to a request from the following Councillors for a Call In of the Cabinet’s decision made on 27 July in relation to ‘Oxfordshire Residual Waste Treatment Procurement – Award of Contract’


Councillor Tanner

Councillor Mrs Fulljames

Councillor Brighouse

Councillor Val Smith

Councillor Stevens

Councillor Pressel

Councillor John Sanders

Councillor Larry Sanders

Councillor Purse

Councillor Godden

Councillor Goddard

Councillor Patrick



The Cabinet decision was to:


award the contract for the treatment of Oxfordshire’s residual municipal waste to Viridor Waste Management Ltd and authorise:


(a)               the Director for Environment & Economy, after discussion with the Cabinet Member for Growth and Infrastructure,  to approve minor amendments to the form of contract, and any subsidiary or related documents, prior to its execution which do not modify substantial aspects of the contract or the commercial agreement with Viridor as outlined in the report;


(b)               the Director for Environment & Economy to sign any subsidiary or related documents arising from the contract; and


(c)               the Assistant Chief Executive & Chief Finance Officer to issue a certificate under the Local Government (Contracts) Act 1997 (the Certificate).



The reasons given for the request are:


That the contract is not in the best interests of the people of Oxfordshire.



A copy of the report to the Cabinet (GI4) is attached, including Annex 1, but not Annexes 2, 3 and 4 which contain “exempt” information as described in Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 as specified below:


3 – information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).


It is considered that in this case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, in that such disclosure would prejudice on-going negotiations and disadvantage the company concerned.


Additional documents:



The Scrutiny Committee had before it the report of the Director for Environment & Economy and Assistant Chief Executive & Chief Finance Officer to Cabinet on 27 July 2010 together with the draft minutes of that meeting.


The Chairman before inviting the speakers to address the Committee referred to emails and letters that members had received that made representations on the agenda item. He noted that some issues relating to location, traffic problems and environmental concerns were the subject of separate planning and environmental processes. He explained the remit of the Committee today was to review the procurement decision taken by Cabinet.


Mr John Kightley, Chair, Bucknell Parish Council spoke in support of the decision being referred back to Cabinet for further consideration. Mr Kightley felt that the decision was based on a market led policy and was commercially based. There was no alternative plan should planning permission be refused and he commented that in Europe and the US the use of the technology was declining. He queried why consideration had not been given to alternatives and sited a development in Yorkshire that was less expensive but achieved significant levels of recycling. He believed that the decision showed that the County Council was not listening to government views concerning the detrimental link between recycling and waste treatment.


Hazel M Watt, Deputy Chair, Bucknell Parish Council spoke in support of the call in commenting that she had attended the recent Public Inquiry. Viridor had stated that Combined Heat & Power was a preferred solution. However this was not being delivered. She referred to the length of the contract period that could be up to 35 years. Should planning permission be granted she believed that the County Council would be liable to meet the costs of conditions imposed by the Public Inquiry process. She referred to a quote in the Cabinet report about the robust case put forward by Viridor at the Public Inquiry. However she noted that this report had been written before the Public Inquiry had been completed and she referred to comments from County Council officers in their summing up that were contrary to this view. In summary she believed that the decision should be reviewed so that good money was not thrown after bad, because the government was committed to transparency and cutbacks and because an incinerator tax was a possibility.


Ms Watt, responding to a question from Councillor Handley about the £3m in fines that the Council could face if they did nothing, accepted that that was a lot but that it could cost more if the decision went ahead now. She believed that at the very least the decision should be deferred.


Mr Brian Wilson, Weston on the Green spoke in support of the call in and submitted a statement to members. He commented that recycling was increasing and challenged the view that construction costs were rising. He highlighted concerns about the possibility of compensation payments and the possibility of a changed policy from the new government. He believed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/10