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Lib Dem Councillors demand review into Eco Park failings

March 30, 2021 4:25 PM

Chris BottenThe Lib Dem Group have called for a review into Surrey County Council's failed attempt to build an 'Eco Park' to process much of Surrey's household waste after it was revealed that the Council is in legal proceedings with the builder of the facility.

At the Full Council meeting in March, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change announced that after "exhausting other options available, we have now entered legal proceedings with Suez to resolve our issues. We hope to bring this to a swift conclusion to allow us to move forward with the Eco park and resolve the matter."

The County Council's Eco Park has been beset with problems since it was announced in 2009. The Eco Park was meant to treat waste with an anaerobic digestion plant and gasification facility. However, despite getting planning permission in 2012, it has never opened.

In a question to today's Cabinet meeting Lib Dem Group Leader, Chris Botten, asked for an external audit report into the Eco Park saga.

Councillor Chris Botten said, "Last year, the Council removed the £42 million 'asset' that is meant to be the Eco Park from its list of assets, so I am sadly not surprised by the news that the Council and Suez are in court. Once this court case is finished, the Council needs to call in external and independent audits to establish why the Eco Park has gone so wrong."

"The Council was due to receive £63 million from the Government as a Waste Infrastructure Grant, this funding is clearly now at risk as a result of this mess."

The Lib Dems and I always had grave concerns about the Eco Park plans. Residents in Spelthorne have been suffering for years due to this project in terms of increased air pollution and noise, traffic congestion and from having to live in the shadow of 'Surrey's biggest eyesore", however all Surrey's residents may now need to pay the price for the Conservative Council's failures."

In responding to Chris Botten's question the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate change said "In line with the Cabinet report providing an update on the Eco Park contract in November 2020, a wider review of the contract has been undertaken with the Council's legal and financial advisers specifically in response to the delays experienced in the delivery of facilities by the contractor, which has resulted in the legal process now underway. However, once this legal process is complete, I can confirm that we will be reviewing the contract and the lessons learned."