A community group has lost a legal challenge against a local authority over a contract for a £600m incinerator.
Community R4C (CR4C) claims the contract for the Javelin Park facility in Gloucester, near junction 12 of the M5, was awarded unlawfully.
Gloucestershire County Council denied this and said it ran a competitive process within the law.
The High Court ruled CR4C was not qualified to bid for the contract.
The group said previously it had been working on a “much cheaper” waste processing plant and “would have bid for the contract” which was eventually awarded to Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB).
When the council revealed the project’s cost rose from £500m to £633m, CR4C claimed it did not represent good value and the contract should have been retendered.
At the hearing in Bristol, Judge Karsten Rasmussen agreed Community R4C did not know about the cost increases until December 2018 – three years after the contract was awarded.
However, he also decided Community R4C would not have qualified as an economic operator at the time had there been a re-tender.
CR4C now plans to consult supporters and legal representatives before deciding whether to appeal the ruling.
It said as the judge agreed the details of the contract were not known for three years it could lead to a state aid case to recover excess costs paid.
Spokeswoman Sue Oppenheimer said: “We will be writing to MP’s, councillors and others to seek an immediate review, based on the court’s findings.”
Councillor Nigel Moor said: “The judge clearly states that Community R4C did not have the financial standing or proven track record to bid for large scale projects, and rules that, as they did not exist at the relevant time, their case cannot proceed.”
Mr Moor added the challenge had been a “huge waste of everyone’s time and public money”.