Monday, December 12, 2011

Away day to Sutton Council for another protest

Despite the cold, wet and windy evening, there was still a fantastic turnout by Greens, residents and environmentalists for the Sutton Executive meeting at the Civic Centre in Sutton. Activists posed for the cameras outside the Civic Centre, but it was inside the meeting where another powerful statement was made.

When the Chair of the meeting called item 5. South London Waste Plan - Adoption we stuck £5 and £10 notes over our mouths and stood up in silence, but the impact was deafening. One by one the councillors looked over at us, trying to keep their composure. Notes taped over our mouths symbolises three key factors:

  1. We can't breathe - Increased pollution will mean more people will die prematurely.
  2. Our voices are not being heard - Our submissions to the consultation are never published on the SLWP web site, whereas submissions by the waste companies are in plentiful supply.
  3. Profit (and money) is more important than the well being of the people - Landfill tax at £56 per tonne for biodegradable waste is the stick forcing councils to find an alternative as soon as possible......incineration. Equally, incineration is the most profitable method to dispose of the waste for a waste company.

It was clear that none of the councillors had read the South London Waste Plan because they weren't aware of paragraph 4.60a. It was only when fellow campaigner Jim Duffy spoke about the issue of radioactive and hazardous waste being managed without the need for planning permission did councillors - probably for the first time - reach for the 100+ page document.

Paragraph 4.60a was added to the Plan after the original publication. Council Officer, Darren Edwards spoke in defence inside and outside (we found him talking to SLWP Project Manager, Duncan Clarke in the corridor) the meeting, stating that inserting the clause protects the council. What about people? Who will protect the people?

Policy WP2 states that planning permission for additional facilities for other waste streams, including Construction, Demolition and Excavation Waste, Hazardous Waste, Agricultural Waste, Clinical Waste, Radioactive Waste and Waste Water, will be permitted provided there is an identified need and the proposal meets the other policies of South London Waste Plan.

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