Political parties blast decision to award waste contract to company planning to use controversial incinerator near Bedford

Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council awarded the contract, saying Veolia offered best option in terms of quality and price

Parties on both sides of the political divide have condemned Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough Councils' decision to award the contract to treat black bin waste to Veolia.

The company has already said that, over time, it will treat the waste at the Energy Recovery facility at Rookery South.

And yesterday Bedford Today revealed that despite originally opposing the facility, both councils felt Veolia offered the best option in terms of quality and price.Councillor Tim Hill, the Liberal Democrat ward councillor for Stewartby, said: “I am bitterly disappointed, just as I was bitterly disappointed when Bedford Borough Council’s attempts to block the facility at every stage were sadly unsuccessful. The development should never have been given the go-ahead, and the way local objections were ignored was disgraceful.

The Energy Recovery facility at Rookery South (Google)

“It saddens me that local waste will be going to Rookery South, however if this waste wasn’t going there it would simply mean more rubbish coming from further afield.”

Cllr Lucy Bywater, from Bedford Green Party, said: ‘The local community has fought the Covanta incinerator at Rookery Pit hard for so many years and I think they feel let down by central Government. It’s not just that the incinerator will be bringing in many tonnes of ‘waste’ material by hundreds of daily diesel HGVs but that it will be creating a particularly toxic pollution and considerable greenhouse gas emissions, whatever the industry ‘greenwash’ says."

Conservative leader Cllr Graeme Coombes also condemned the mayor’s decision, describing it as a ‘slap in the face’ for residents of Stewartby and nearby villages.

He said: “The mayor can’t have it both ways – he can’t claim to be opposed to Covanta and then agree to its use. Neither can he want to mitigate climate change and be for good air quality, yet sign off on burning Bedford’s waste.

"The mayor’s decision is a slap in the face for Stewartby residents in particular, as he has previously claimed to be on their side, but now he’s not content only sending them Bedford’s waste, but that of our neighbours in Central Bedfordshire too.“

But the mayor's offiuce said: “The council procurement exercise is laid out in legislation by the government and only two bids were received which both involved incineration. Whilst we have made clear our opposition to the location of the Covanta facility, we have not been left with an alternative choice.”