Monday, January 09, 2012

The political power hierarchy for the waste incinerator

Outside the recent Sutton Executive meeting

Duncan Clarke - South London Waste Plan Project manager

Frank Smith - Director of the South London Waste Partnership

Whilst departing the Sutton Civic offices, after the protest at the Executive meeting, we bumped into South London Waste Plan Project Manager, Duncan Clarke, and Darren Edwards, Environment officer on Sutton Council. They were talking in the corridor outside the meeting. Probably for the first time throughout this whole sham consultation process we were able to get some answers from those who possessed them. For the passed three years, the individuals responding to our challenges have been councillors. I am sure the councillors would concede they are being kept in the dark, simply taking advice from council officers when required to comment.

Therefore, it is important for residents in the four boroughs of Sutton, Kingston, Merton and Croydon to recognise who the drivers at the wheel of this waste incinerator juggernaut are.

The South London Waste Partnership have consistently used terms like "protect" and "safeguard" in their communications about the purpose of the Plan (see notes below) .

All along we have been told that the South Waste Plan is there to guide the four councils, and that the four councils were "technology neutral.

This is why it is astonishing that the individual conveying the arguments for incineration in the recent two page special in the Advertiser is the Director of the South London Waste Partnership, Frank Smith.

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised, there is a distinct overlap between waste companies and the SLWP. The previous SLWP Project Manager, Emma Smyth, is now working for waste company SITA.

All this brings me to Table 1: I have knocked up this political power hierarchy based on the above observations. The waste hierarchy is forever being used by the SLWP to give an environmental best practice sheen to the waste incinerator, so I thought it appropriate to produce a comparative table.


"The South London Waste Plan contains policies to guide the determination of planning applications for waste management facilities and identifies existing waste sites to be safeguarded and areas where waste management development may be suitable" - taken from SLWP web site

"The South London Waste Plan protects the Council when planning applications are sent in by waste companies." Darren Edwards, Sutton Council Environment officer

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