Thursday, November 10, 2011

Big business and elected politicians put the mock into our democracy

Croydon Advertiser May 22nd 2009

This weeks Croydon Guardian revealed the incinerator is indeed planned for BEDDINGTON. My colleagues and I in the Green Party have been warning this was the desired outcome for exactly three years now. The article also says that Viridor have beaten WRG to the billion pound contract.

In November 2008 we submitted a 5000 word document to the initial consultation which kick-started this sham. We first used the word incinerator in a leaflet in the Waddon by-election in January 2009,

However, the first major splash appeared in the Croydon Advertiser in May 2009 (pic above). The image used, featuring yours truly, was taken at Croydon's Valley Park, with Beddington on the horizon. Reporter Neil Millard came up with the idea of using Photoshop to depict how an incinerator would appear on the landscape. This image is now almost prophetic!! Neil is incidentally now at The Sun newspaper. His latest piece is on UKBF's Brodie Clark's suspension.

I feel what has happened here in South London with regard to the Waste Plan (SLWP) pangs of the frustration that has resulted in the Occupy Movement. There are definitely similarities:

What we have witnessed over the last three years is a process where the concerns, fears and demands of the people in Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston have not been heard - AT ANY STAGE OF THIS CONSULTATION. Big business has been calling the tune with elected politicians dancing by their side attempting to give the semblance of democracy, and it is the people who live in poorer communities who will suffer. Ring any bells??

Here are some examples of how we have been mocked :

  1. The first waste plan consultation was kept low key, with only 41 respondents to the full questionnaire. This meant that waste companies had a higher number of submissions and thus undue influence on its outcome.

  2. Detailed submissions by the Croydon Green Party have never appeared on the SLWP web site

  3. The Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State failed to invite spokespersons from Croydon Friends of the Earth or the Croydon Green Party to his so called Hearing of the Plan.

  4. Councillors in all four boroughs throughout the whole process have been passing through each statutory stage of the consultation on a nod.

  5. The opposition party groups in each of the four boroughs, offer token resistance, but each opposition group is aware that their own party in a neighbouring borough is pushing through the Plan. Cr7 Green explains this scenario beautifully.

  6. It has been revealed to me by a councillor within the four boroughs that Viridor has long been planning a major new waste facility in Beddington.

  7. The Plan allows radioactive waste to be managed without the need for planning permission. Lovely jubbly if you are a waste contractor.

  8. Beddington has always been the most plausible location. No other site could alone manage the sheer tonnage of waste from the four boroughs and third party waste. Elected politicians in Sutton had been meeting with Beddington residents as early as February 2010 in an attempt to reassure them.

  9. Members of the public and reporters were asked to leave the room when the councillors met to recommend the Plan.

  10. Councillors claim the sensitive nature of the procurement process - an entirely separate process to the consulation - prevents them from answering specific questions with regard to the Plan. Very convenient indeed.

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