Nearly £100,000 of taxpayers’ cash went up in smoke as Swindon Borough Council tried to fight off the attempt to build a huge power-from-waste generator in South Marston.

After the council’s planning committee rejected Rolton Kilbride’s application to build the generator in 2016 the company took the matter to a planning appeal earlier this year, which it won, sparking fury among protestors and nearby residents.

The costs to the council for legal counsel were £83,000. About 250 hours of council officers’ time was spent on it at a notional rate of £50 an hour that’s £12,500 bringing the total up to £95,500.

Rolton Kilbride won’t reveal its costs, but the council will not be expected to pay them.

Cabinet member for strategic planning, Gary Sumner said: “We thought we had a good case for refusal of the scheme when it first came to committee, but the planning inspector made a very clear and straightforward decision. Some you win, some you lose.”

Coun Sumner said the authority was still considering whether to take the matter further: “We are looking at whether it’s worth spending more money on legal advice in this case. We haven’t come to a decision yet, although I don’t think it’s far away.

“It’s important to say the inspector has put in some very stringent conditions. The plant will have to comply with the most stringent environment agency standards on emissions. The team at the council will make sure that Rolton Kilbride does that. It’s in our interests and I’m sure the company’s to make sure that residents have the greatest possible reassurance over this.”

The plant, called an incinerator by opponents, works by super-heating rubbish to such a high temperature gasses are given off which are then burned to generate electricity,

A spokesman for Rolton Kilbride said: “We are unable to provide information on the specific costs as it is a commercially sensitive matter. Like the council, we were represented by lawyers and in fact in they came from the same chambers. Each side is responsible for its own costs in this instance, but in the case of the council, the cost comes from the public purse, with theimpact to taxpayers.”

The initial application was rejected unanimously, with a campaign group set up to oppose the plan, which might see waste shipped in from London.