Project Transform in jeopardy

The waste PFI deal between Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull councils is on the verge of collapse.

Solihull has become the latest council to announce its intention to pull out of the £1bn Project Transform scheme, which had intended to build a new incinerator.

A proposal to terminate its involvement in the scheme will be put before the council on 12 October.

Councillor Tim Hodgson, who looks after the council’s environment brief, said the conclusions of a new report into the future of the existing incinerator changed the council leadership’s minds over the future of the project.

The report concluded investing in the existing plant could allow it to continue for 30 more years, rendering the need for a new plant redundant.

“We remain fully committed dealing with waste that isn’t recycled in a responsible way but at the moment the best and most cost effective way to do this is to continue investment in the current plant,” said Hodgson.

Coventry announced last week it intends to pull out of the scheme, having commissioned the report. A full council meeting on 19 October will consider the proposal to end involvement in the scheme.

However, Conservative councillor Kevin Foster claimed last week that a “senior member of the Project Transform team” intends to “tweak” the planning application rather than scrap it altogether.

Warwickshire council has insisted it remains committed to delivering a new waste scheme.

“We respect whatever decision Coventry and Solihull wish to take, but we are hugely disappointed that they appear to be pulling out of Project Transform,” said Alan Cockburn, council leader for environment.

“We will need to explore other options because we cannot do nothing in the face of the ever increasing costs of landfill tax to the taxpayer.”