Whilst staffing the Green Party stall at last months
Here in Croydon the debate surrounding the
An EU Landfill Directive requires national governments to reduce the level of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill by 2020. The government has passed these targets to councils under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) which is a kind of landfill credit system, except these credits cost councils millions of pounds. Suddenly councils need to find ways to reduce the amount biodegradable waste they send to landfill otherwise they will have to cut services or increase council tax. Here in South London four borough councils - Sutton, Kingston, Merton and Croydon - with a combined population of well over one million have pooled together to form the South London Waste Partnership.
The problem is the EU gave authorities a get out of jail card. It decided to rebrand incinerators as ‘energy from waste plants’, voted for by Labour and Conservative MEP’s, which opened the door for waste companies to make money from burning waste – all waste. Hence what was originally a method to tackle landfill and greenhouse gas emissions has now become a ticket to burn waste and make lots of money whilst doing so. Private contractors are signing 25 or 35 year deals when they build these waste disposal sites, locking councils into providing a continued waste stream.
There are dozens of schemes cropping up all over the country opposing the new generation of incinerators because they depress waste resources, release twice as much CO2 as a coal fired power station and most importantly are a danger to human health. Given the aforementioned combination of health jeopardy, hands up who wants to live next to such a site? Not me I hear you cry! Locally, we have founded the Stop the Incinerator campaign.
But, what if you do not know that the shiny metallic dome with a 100 foot chimney stack being built is an incinerator? In fact, given that it won’t be required to be called an incinerator and instead be pushed through planning as an ‘energy from waste plant’ - something with an environmentally friendly ring to it – you could be blissfully unaware.
Last autumn’s initial consultation had a booklet with fields of daisies and woodland on the front cover. Inside the booklet was a questionnaire. This questionnaire was completed by only forty one people. Just 41 out of a population of 1.1 million! Nevertheless due to the leading questions in the booklet, it triggered a billion pound procurement process allowing companies all over the EU to bid for the site. Does this smack of, “what the people don’t know won’t harm them”?
So who will end up living next to these incinerators? Well, Friends of the Earth have produced a report which shows that 50 per cent of the incinerators are situated in 10 per cent of the poorest wards in the country.
Back in October the Croydon Green Party calculated that the most plausible location for this incinerator is the existing
Which leads me back to my original musings. We can assume that the authorities are more likely to push an unpopular decision upon a community which doesn’t have the technical, financial or legal expertise to fight it. It’s the advantaged exercising their status over the disadvantaged; the ruling class imposing their solution on the working class. Some would argue that if the outcome of a decision disproportionately affects BME communities then it is racist regardless of the intention.
Back at the festival the experience was nothing short of a sensory treat. The smells, sounds and colours that gushed from the jerk grills, steel bands and carnival procession brought the
By Shasha Khan
Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon North.
Tags croydon, greenparty