The Swindon Labour Group Leader reacts to the news that Swindon Borough Council has failed to deliver a Waste 2 Energy plant at Waterside.
After nearly two years of talking and preparing for a mobile Waste 2 Energy plant at Waterside Park, which was meant to be the first of a chain of similar plants around the town, the Tory administration admitted last week that this idea has failed to materialise.
The Waste 2 Energy plant was a key plank of the Council’s waste and environmental platform. It was meant to help the Council avoid landfill taxes of nearly £20 million over the next 10 years and was an integral part of the Council’s ambition to create a District Heating system in the town. Labour had been working with the Conservative administration to bring this plant to Waterside Park and had even managed to get buy-in from nearby residents of Waterside on the idea.
However all the plans and work that had been done that centred on this mobile Waste 2 Energy plant being at Waterside was made on the assumption that this technology was viable and to find out after two years of planning that it isn’t is a massive failure on the part of Swindon’s Tory administration.
So what should the Council do next? I am not in favour of an incinerator being built in the town. However there may be other waste plants outside of the town and I believe the council should explore if we can use any other forms of Waste 2 Energy plant at Waterside Park.
Another piece of news last week which was disappointing to hear was that the proposed developers of the Old Swindon College site have withdrawn any form of a timeline to start the proposed development- work on the former college site had meant to commence in the first quarter of 2011.
This is just another example of a trend of failure within Swindon borough Council as a result of this Tory administration. Grand dreams of Swindon borough Council being a leading council with projects like Wi-Fi, Town Centre Regeneration and unique waste 2 energy plants are now turning in to nightmares with Swindon falling behind other areas in regenerating our high street and on diverting residential waste away from landfill sites.
I want to lead a Council more attuned to what people want, which is a council delivering realistic projects, not talking up unrealistic projects that are likely to fail.
Council Jim Grant
Leader of the Labour Group