PLANS to build a £17million rubbish incinerator or mechanical biological waste disposal plant at Whitebirk have been abandoned.

The borough council has scrapped it as expensive and unnecessary despite the loss of job opportunities, commercial development and income for the borough.

The move will be reported to the council’s executive board tomorrow night by environment director Sayyed Osman.

He will tell the borough’s ruling cabinet that since pulling out of a Lancashire County Council project in 2007, officers had looked at developing their own solution to dealing with non-recyclable rubbish other than tipping it into landfill.

In 2007, then regeneration chief Alan Cottam proposed a waste incinerator to generate steam and energy for sale.

He said the council could charge neighbouring boroughs to dispose of their waste.

Following an outcry, the idea was dropped and a ‘mechanical biological'. plant, where landfill is sorted and treated to reduce its size was proposed. A site was identified at Lower Philips Road in Whitebirk and two contractors invited to bid to build the facility with the potential to raise cash by taking waste from neighbouring boroughs.

After talks with two companies, Veolia and New Earth Solutions, councillors were close to deciding to going ahead.

Mr Osman informs the executive board that following the coalition government’s local government finance settlement in 2010, the cash needed for such a major investment was drying up while a decision to freeze landfill tax and a reduction in waste produced by business because of the recession made the plan uneconomic.

He tells the councillors: “With the withdrawal of both bidders the council has no option but to formally close the project.”

Coun Cottam said: “This is the right decision. The borough has looked at an incinerator/energy generator and a mechanical biological treatment option but with the changing situation we do not need the plant.