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Plymouth withdrawing from incinerator deal unlawful

Friday August 24th, 2012

Legal experts have told Plymouth Councillors that withdrawing from the contract to build the Devonport incinerator would be found to be unlawful.

A special meeting of the Cabinet heard that an independent report commissioned to see if it were possible to stop the incinerator had concluded not only that it would be unlawful for the Council to withdraw from the contract, but it wouldn’t guarantee stopping it from being built as other partners could still go ahead with the scheme.

The report by legal firm Foot Anstey also stressed that withdrawing from the contract to build the incinerator would also cost the council more than £400m.

Two separate reports were produced. The first report into whether it is feasible to revoke the planning consent was considered by a special meeting of the Planning Committee, then a second report into the feasibility of withdrawing from the contract was considered by a special Cabinet, which advised the council that withdrawing from the contract would result in additional costs to the local authority exceeding £400m – the cost of having to pay compensation to the contractor MVV and the other two councils in the partnership – Torbay and Devon, as well as the loss of millions of pounds of government funding and the very large costs associated with finding alternative waste disposal arrangements.

Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “It is massively frustrating and infuriating to find that pulling out of the contract would most likely not stop the incinerator from being built but would potentially expose the council to an unacceptable bill of more than £400m – nearly twice the annual cost of running all our services.”

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